MMDA proposes to bring back driver-only ban to improve traffic flow along EDSA

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is adamant in its efforts to further alleviate heavy traffic along EDSA. Aside from their plan of banning provincial buses passing through EDSA (which was recently shelved due to legal hurdles), the MMDA is looking to revive the driver-only ban along the major thoroughfare.

In an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source, MMDA Traffic Boss Edison 'Bong' Nebrija proposed to bring back the driver-only vehicles ban on EDSA as a way to lessen vehicular traffic. For him, it will be one of the best policies that they can implement as it will greatly reduce the volume of traffic on the busy thoroughfare by as much as 140,000 vehicles. Not only that, the policy may also promote carpooling during rush hours.

However, Nebrija said that if they were to fully implement the driver-only ban policy along EDSA, authorities would first need to regulate the darkness of car window tints so they can monitor which vehicles follow the HOV policy.

Originally proposed by the MMDA last August 2018, MMDA Regulation No. 18 – 005 essentially made all of EDSA's lanes passable only to vehicles that have more than one occupant (High Occupancy Vehicle). The policy drew flak not only from motorists, but from members of the Senate as well who called for a suspension of the driver-only ban.

For the Senate, it was interpreted as a violation of tax-paying motorists rights, and was set in place with no public consultation and due process. In addition, the HOV policy for EDSA was restrictive instead of incentive-based as occupants with multiple passengers were allowed to enter special, faster lanes for quicker transit, as opposed to banning cars driven by its owner. The Senate then asked the MMDA to continue studying other traffic solutions for EDSA, resulting in its indefinite suspension.

While the MMDA's plan on banning driver-only cars to travel along EDSA will mean lesser vehicles, this puts forth another problem wherein affected motorists will have to take other roads which can result in more traffic elsewhere.

The MMDA will present the driver-only ban again before the Metro Manila Council come July.