Senators urge suspension of new traffic scheme banning driver-only vehicles

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Hours after the first leg of the new traffic scheme's dry run, Senators urged for a recall of the regulation. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 15) — Hours after the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) concluded the first leg of its dry run banning driver-only vehicles on EDSA, some Senators called for its suspension.

Senators Vicente "Tito" Sotto, Franklin Drilon, Miguel Zubiri, and Ralph Recto on Wednesday signed Resolution 845, urging the Metro Manila Council, the MMDA's policy-making body, to recall the recent regulation expanding high occupancy vehicle lanes in EDSA during the rush hour. 

The trial run for driver-only vehicles will initially last for a week, and full implementation happens on August 23.

The resolution mainly contends that the regulation violates due process of law because of the lack of public consultations conducted prior to its passage. 

It also argued that the regulation "deprive thousands of people of the use of the country's major thoroughfare" since it takes effect during the peak commuting hours of the week. 

MMDA Spokesperson Celine Pialago earlier said the driver-only ban and the newly implemented provincial bus ban was established to ease heavy traffic on EDSA as these cars occupy up to 70% of the lanes.

Based on the 2017 EDSA annual average daily traffic data, 367,738 vehicles use the road on a daily basis, 67 percent of which are private motor vehicles.

The resolution contends, however, that these figures were not proven. It also cited multiple research saying that high occupancy vehicle lanes were rendered ineffective in other countries such as the U.S., Canada, and Indonesia. 

MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia addressed the complaint and said it's up to the courts to decide on the issue. 

"The court will say kung sino ang tama…Kung anong sabihin ng korte yun ang gagawin namin," he said.

[Translation: The court will say who is right…whatever the court says, that's what we will follow]

He maintained that the new traffic scheme were only "short-term solutions" as the MMDA continues to wait for developments on the government's "Build,Build,Build" project.

"Kailangan gumawa ng polisiya habang naghihintay ng long-term solution," Garcia said.

[Translation: We need to create a new policy while we wait for a long-term solution]

RELATED: MMDA says traffic schemes ease EDSA congestion