Just two days ago, The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) gained the approval of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) for the carpool lane along EDSA, along with the travel restrictions for provincial buses on the busy thoroughfare. Now, the MMDA has announced that a dry run of the carpool lane will be held Wednesday next week, on August 15, 2018.
Under the measure, only those private vehicles with two or more passengers will be allowed to travel through EDSA. At the moment however, the MMDA did not clarify a few important terms such as the actual definition of rush hours, or the use of the term passengers instead of occupants. Other reports cited that special on EDSA will be designated as HOV lanes, but the MMDA itself has yet to make an official statement on the matter.
This isn't the first time the MMDA tried to implement the carpool lane along EDSA. Late last year (December 11, 2017) the agency held a dry run but stopped it a week later. Officials say they encountered difficulties in determining whether heavily tinted vehicles were complying with the new policy. Both MMDA personnel and the cameras placed on EDSA had a hard time seeing through heavily-tinted vehicles.
Currently, the traffic management agency of Pasig City is implementing a similar scheme on Julia Vargas avenue; a special lane has been designated for vehicles with 4 or more occupants in a vehicle. The implementation which started late March, resulted in mass confusion and uproar among motorists, and business owners which lamented the policy which adversely affected their operations.
The MMDA has given loose guidelines on their proposed 'expanded High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) traffic scheme' that restricts single occupancy private vehicles along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) during rush hours. It aims to restrict single occupant vehicles along the main thoroughfare from 7 to 10 in the morning and 6 to 9 in the evening. The said scheme will be tested for a week starting August 15, Wednesday.
"Let us see for one week how the HOV scheme will work. We are calling on the participation of the public," said Garcia. Based on the agency’s traffic simulation, Garcia said the policy will result to a remarkable decrease in travel time and increase in travel speed along EDSA. "With the proposed policy, EDSA will have 40 percent less vehicles," said Garcia.
Garcia admitted that the ban would congest other major thoroughfares and inner roads when the ban on single occupancy vehicles take effect. "The agency had been relentless in clearing secondary roads and alternate routes every day but we can only do so much," said Garcia.