THE Metro Manila Development Authority said Wednesday it will propose expanding its vehicle reduction program on Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, the main artery traversing Metro Manila’s cities, to decongest it by 59,900 vehicles a day.
The agency wants to test the program on Nov. 15 to Jan. 15 next year, and it will propose it to the Metro Manila Council when it meets Friday, according to Chairman Francis Tolentino.
Depending on the last number of their license plates, vehicles are now banned from Metro Manila’s streets one day each week, and from 7 a.m to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. except on Saturdays and Sundays.
Vehicles whose last numbers are 1 and 2 are banned on Mondays, those with 3 and 4 on Tuesdays, those with 5 and 6 on Wednesdays, those with 7 and 8 on Thursdays, and those with 9 and 0 on Fridays. The only exception is Makati City, where the vehicles banned on a certain day may not pass from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Tolentino said he would propose the ban on Edsa on all vehicles—including buses that are now exempted from its so-called odd-even plan—and from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday. The alternative plan was a ban from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Tolentino said his plan would decongest Edsa by 50 percent per day, speed up vehicle movement there to 50.7 kilometers per hour from 30.1, and reduce the economic losses from the daily gridlock by P277 million a day.
The plan would also facilitate motorists’ access to Metro Manila’s business districts, he said.
“I don’t understand why [motorists] refuse the program’s expansion,” Tolentino said.
“The vehicles to be banned on the 24-kilometer Edsa have other road networks to pass through. Metro Manila has a total 3,861 kilometers of road, and we would just be taking away 24 kilometers.”
Meanwhile, an analyst said Wednesday the government needed to increase the fares on Metro Rail Transit 3, which traverses Edsa, to reduce its subsidy to commuters and ease the burden on its coffers.
Ruzette Morales-Mariano, a consultant of the government think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies, said the government would ease its subsidy burden by increasing the fares on MRT 3 by P15 to P20 from P10 to P15 now.
Rio Araja, Manila Standard Today