FOLLOWING the Senate’s opposition to the Expanded High Occupancy Vehicle Traffic Scheme, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority on Friday has suspended its full implementation along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) on August 23 following the opposition of the Senate.
“We respect the wisdom of our senators. We are suspending the full implementation of the policy on August 23,” said MMDA General Jose Arturo “Jojo” Garcia during a press briefing.
Garcia said the fate of the Expanded HOV policy banning driver only vehicles on a portion of EDSA rests on the Metro Manila Council (MMC), the governing and policy-making body of the agency.
“MMDA has no power to stop the policy because it is a MMC resolution. It is also the MMC that has the last say,” said Garcia.
In the meantime, the dry run period of the policy on EDSA continues until the MMC convenes, said Garcia, adding “we will remain on status quo until the MMC, composed of the Metro Manila mayors, convenes.”
Despite the suspension, Garcia called on the public to still participate in the dry run to determine the impact of the policy.
The MMDA official said the MMDA is open to amend the guidelines of the policy that hopes to reduce the number of vehicles along EDSA while encouraging people to car pool.
Garcia explained that the policy is not meant to cause inconvenience to solo drivers traversing EDSA but a short term solution of the agency amid the simultaneous infrastructure projects under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
“We need to do something. We cannot just wait for these infrastructure projects that would take three to four years,” said Garcia, adding that “Metro Manila’s traffic problems are already decades old. There is no overnight solution.”
According to Garcia, several bridges in Metro Manila will undergo improvement works, starting this year.
“Set for repairs are Estrella Bridge, Rockwell Bridge, and Binondo Bridge. We are facing a lot of problems. The Guadalupe Bridge will undergo rehabilitation next year,” said Garcia.
Based on the agency’s monitoring, the policy eased traffic flow on EDSA during the start of the week-long dry run. On Wednesday, Senate leaders, apparently heeding populist sentiments, called on the MMDA to suspend the policy.
The establishment of HOV lanes on EDSA bans driver only vehicles from traversing EDSA from North Avenue in Quezon City to Magallanes in Makati City during rush hour: 7 am to 10 am and 6 pm to 9 pm on weekdays.