WATCH | Twice weekly number coding? Nah. ‘One-way EDSA’ all the way? Nah. Carpooling? Check. Or maybe

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Carpooling on EDSA may emerge as the one traffic-busting measure on the menu of options pitched by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to Metro Manila mayors, who have frowned on other key proposals like a twice-weekly number coding rule and the ‘one way, all the way’ for EDSA.

MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim said, after Tuesday’s 9th meeting of the Metro Mayors’ Council, that among the three measures, the mayors showed much interest in carpooling as a means to limit the number of vehicles using the national capital region’s busiest thoroughfare.

The MMC is the policy-making body of the agency.

Per MMDA studies, 78% of the cars passing on EDSA have only one occupant.

Implementation of a carpooling measure at this time could complicate the expectedly more congested traffic situation during the so-called “-ber months,” so officials do not see that being done in the next three months.

The permutations will undergo computer simulations before a refined proposal is presented to the mayors’ council for approval.

Scientific approach

“Out of the three, carpooling got the good impact,” according to MMDA’s assistant general manager for planning Jojo Garcia, as he pointed out that the scheme is seen as economically effective.

“If you share a ride, you are automatically exempted from the number-coding scheme and you can pass by Edsa anytime,” he added.

Garcia said the agency has a “scientific” approach to problems, using various equipment to monitor traffic volume and flow, and data.

The MMDA assured the public that the carpooling proposal is still being reviewed, and will not be implemented in the next three months.

The MMDA will also study the possibility of combining the number-coding, or uniform vehicle volume reduction program (UVVRP) and car pooling for private cars.

Elaborating on the carpooling option, Lim explained that if a driver shares a ride with at least two other persons, the vehicle will be automatically exempted from the number-coding scheme.

Lim gave assurances the agency has the capacity to monitor if indeed there are at least three persons inside a vehicle seeking exemption frm number coding.

The “One way, all the way on EDSA” proposal was pitched earlier by Samar 1st district representative Edgar Sarmiento.

The two-day coding scheme was proposed by Quezon 3rd district representative Danilo Suarez…

Under the initial carpooling being looked into by MMDA, cars with only one occupant cannot pass on EDSA.

If there are two persons in the car, it will be allowed on EDSA, but not when the vehicle is restricted under the UVVRP.

If the vehicle has three occupants, it may be exempted from number coding.

MMDA carpooling app

In 2015, the agency had launched the “Friend Trip,” a mobile app that encourages carpooling. It allows carpooling among Facebook friends or those living within the same area and going to a certain destination.

The MMDA Friend Trip is touted as an addition to MMDA’s innovative solutions to ease traffic congestion, and reduce pollution problems by shrinking the volume of cars and other private vehicles going around town.

Friend Trip likewise gives users an option to have the MMDA record all their trips.