If you can still recall, MMDA enacted a dry run of the driver-only car ban on that fateful day of August 15, 2018: both public and private single-passenger vehicles were prohibited from passing through all lanes of EDSA from North EDSA in Quezon City to Magallanes in Makati City from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Friday.
Naturally, this dry run was met with excessive criticism from the public: netizens complained that traffic was only redirected to C5, while the Senate called upon both the MMDA and the Metro Manila Council (MMC) to investigate the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) scheme further, so that “real solutions” to Metro Manila traffic congestion could be provided for with the collaboration of the public.
Though MMDA countered that they encouraged carpooling instead of finding alternate routes, the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) expressed concern over the growth of “colorum” carpools that the full implementation of the HOV scheme could entail, as well as other risks to public safety. In any case, 4,256 motorists were caught violating the driver-only car ban on the first day of the dry run; talk about protest.
As such, MMDA was forced to put an end to the dry run just after two days on August 17. Moreover, while the full implementation of the driver-only car ban on EDSA was set for August 23, the Senate unanimously voted to adopt a resolution calling for the suspension of the implementation of the ban.
But as of June 12, 2019, the MMDA still has plans to implement the driver-only car ban once they complete their crackdown on provincial buses, as stated by MMDA Traffic Manager Bong Nebrija. Despite the uproar of the public, the MMDA holds firm to the fact that 70 percent of vehicles on EDSA during rush hours are driver-only; initial data indicates that as many as 140,000 vehicles can be removed from EDSA following the implementation of the ban. In this way, as MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago maintains, the driver-only car ban was “never out of the picture”, as MMDA has been persistent with their proposals to the MMC.
So, what do you think? Will EDSA motorists be doomed to a life of sketchy carpools, or will the public find some sort of compromise with the MMDA?