It was once said that traffic jams are a sign of a good economy.
If that's the case, our country must've been booming since the 1970s, with trucks plying through main (and even interior) thoroughfares day in and day out. It was also in this decade that the Truck Ban Ordinance saw its infancy and first implementation.
Fast forward and we still see trucks rushing along our streets on a daily basis. Trailers carrying massive loads and cargo have become a rather common sight; but leading up to today, the Truck Ban of the 70s has seen its share of lifting, amendments, and reimplementation. For all the reasons that led to its temporary cancellations, perhaps the most common factor was this: congestion. Trucks occupy a lot of space on the road given their sheer length and sizes, and thus their unrestricted presence on the roads contributes significantly to traffic jams.
What have today is a scheme that was heavily based off of a 2015 amendment to the Ordinance. Just a year before, it was forecast that the Philippine economy may suffer losses in the hundred billions with trucks being closed off with no alternate routes for most of the day. In response to this, a special Committee allowed the trucks to use only specific roads to decongest the ports and to help along with the businesses' needs. Today, the provision of disallowing trucks on major roads in Metro Manila still remains; however, certain cities within the Metro have come up with their own proposed Ban hours.
Let's start: what exactly is not allowed on major roads of Metro Manila during Truck Ban?
Per the MMDA, cargo trucks are defined as “motor vehicles, principally intended for carrying cargo and having license plates of the following classifications: "S","T", "TC", "TH", "TRLB", "HHB", and "TRJ", to include other vehicles such as lorries, vans, tankers or other delivery vehicles, whether loaded or empty, having a gross capacity weight of more than 4,500 kilos”.
Simply put, any vehicle that crosses the weight threshold of 4,500 kilos are placed under the Truck Ban and must follow its window hours and use only the allowed routes. If you've seen what look like orange mats on the side of the roads with traffic enforcers looking like they are weighing trucks, it's because they are. They take cargo trucks very seriously.
Next up is when and where is the Truck Ban implemented? Again, per the MMDA:
From 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. and from 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. every day except Sundays and Holidays, no cargo truck shall be allowed to travel or pass along:
España Street through Quezon Avenue from Echague Street to the intersection of West and South Avenue;
Claro M. Recto Avenue from Legarda St. to del Pan Street;
President Quirino Avenue from South Superhighway to Roxas Boulevard;
P. Burgos St. through Ayala Boulevard, Legarda St., Magsayasay Boulevard and Aurora Boulevard, from Roxas Boulevard to Boston Street;
E. Rodriguez Avenue through Bonifacio Avenue from Welcome Rotonda to Shoe Avenue;
South Superhighway through Nagtahan Bridge and Alfonso Mendoza Street from EDSA to Dimasalang Street;
Taft Avenue through Quirino Avenue from Redemptorist Street to Plaza Lawton, to include McArthur, Quezon and Jones Bridges;
Bonifacio Drive through Roxas Boulevard and NAIA Road to Aduana Street to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport;
Rizal Avenue through Rizal Avenue Extension from Carriedo Street to the Bonifacio Monument;
Reina Regente Street through Abad Santos Street from Regina Regente Bridge to Rizal Avenue Extension;
Makati District Business;
Ortigas Business District, Pasig City; and
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
It is very clear that within the said times if a vehicle falls under the definition of what a (cargo) truck is, it cannot use these main roads in Metro Manila. But are there alternatives that they can use, say, to go to and from the Port Area, at least? Yes, there are, and these are:
Northern Truck Route
From Port Area to North Diversion Road
From Pier Zone, traveling northward along R-10, right Capulong towards Tayuman, straight ahead towards Gov. Forbes, left Maria Clara, left Dimasalang, right Blumentritt, left A. Bonifacio and find your way to the north.
From North Diversion Road to Port Area
From the north and traveling southward along A. Bonifacio Avenue, right Blumentritt, left Aurora Boulevard, right Dimasalang, right Aragon Street, right Gov. Forbes towards Tayuman and Capulong, left R-10 to the Pier Zone.
Southern Truck Route
From Port Area to South Superhighway
Bonifacio Drive, left P. Burgos, Finance Road, Ayala Boulevard, right San Marcelino, left President Quirino, right South Superhighway
From South Superhighway to Port Area
South Superhighway, right President Quirino, left United Nations Avenue, right Romualdez Street, left Ayala, P. Burgos, right Bonifacio Drive, to Port Area.
Eastern Truck Route
From Port Area to Marcos Highway
From Pier Zone travelling northward along R-10, right Capulong towards Tayuman, straight ahead towards Gov. Forbes, left Maria Clara, cross Dimasalang, straight ahead towards Constancia, right at Constancia, left Laonglaan, straight towards D. Tuazon Avenue, left Quezon Boulevard Extension, straight towards Elliptical Road, take Don Mariano Marcos Avenue, left Aurora Boulevard, straight towards Marcos Highway.
From Marcos Highway to Port Area
Marcos Highway straight towards Aurora Boulevard, right at Katipunan, straight towards Tandang Sora, left Don Mariano Marcos Avenue, straight towards Elliptical Road, take Quezon Boulevard Extension, straight towards West Avenue, right West Avenue, left Del Monte Avenue, straight towards A. Bonifacio, left A. Bonifacio Drive, right Blumentritt, left Aurora Boulevard, right Dimasalang, right /Aragon Street, right Gov. Forbes towards Tayuman and Capulong, left R-10 to the Pier Zone.
The MMDA would like to remind all of us that yes, the ban is still very much in effect. In a published post on their official Twitter page a few days ago, the MMDA has reiterated the following truck ban schedules with these guidelines:
the ban is in effect from 6:00AM – 10:00AM, and from 5:00PM – 10:00PM
except in the following areas:
Paranaque truck ban be from 6:00AM – 9:00AM, and from 4:00PM – 8:00PM
Makati truck ban will be from 6:00AM – 10:00PM
Uniform Light Trucks Ban
In addition, there are certain rules that also apply to what are known as "Uniform Light Trucks". These are the trucks with a gross capacity weight 4,500 kilograms or below, and/or having six (6) or more tires, the payload area of which are either enclosed or open. The coverage and duration of the Light Trucks Ban are as follows:
All ‘light trucks’, whether or not for commercial use, shall be:
- Prohibited to ply EDSA from Magallanes, Makati City until North Avenue, Quezon City, both northbound and southbound, from 5 am until 9 pm from Mondays to Saturdays. There is no prohibition on Sundays and holidays;
- Prohibited along Shaw Boulevard (Mandaluyong City and Pasig City) from 6 am until 10 am and from 5 pm until 10 pm from Mondays to Saturdays. There is no prohibition on Sundays and holidays. There is no prohibition on Sundays and holidays.
Also, there is a "window" during the Light Trucks Ban as well. It us understood that "light trucks may use such roads during the time period not covered by the ban". Do note as well that that UVVRP (more commonly known as number coding) under MMDA Regulation No. 96-005, Series of 1996 and its amendments shall remain applicable to ‘light trucks.’ Any infraction of the ban calls for a fine amounting to PhP 2,000.00.
Likewise, certain "light trucks" are also excempted from the ban, namely:
- Motor vehicles which are registered in the name of any government office, agency, or unit including the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police, and duly marked as such
- Emergency vehicles such as, but not limited to, firetrucks and ambulances
- Motor vehicles which are granted exemptions by the MMDA if the circumstances so warrant.
- Light trucks carrying perishable good but they still need to apply for an exemption from the MMDA.
A Total Truck Ban is also implemented along the entire length of EDSA Magallanes to North Avenue, and along Roxas Boulevard as well (except Sundays and holidays). As of writing, the MMDA website does not include Roxas Boulevard in the Total Truck Ban, but it is best to take heed of current posts on the official Twitter page, we reckon. Any person caught violating the provisions of the truck ban will be given a hefty PhP 2,000 fine. You have been warned, ladies and gentlemen.