Modified odd even scheme, EDSA use charge mulled

In “Windows 2” for EDSA, vehicles with digits ending in odd and even numbers will be banned from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

MANILA — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is proposing the implementation of a modified odd even scheme and congestion charge for users of EDSA.

The modified off even scheme called “Windows 2” restricts private vehicles to further improve travel along EDSA and ease traffic congestion in major thoroughfares across the metropolis.

“Based on our projections, the average travel speed at EDSA runs at around 19 kilometers per hour (kph). If we will be able to implement the modified odd even scheme, we expect that we will be able to reduce vehicles by 45 percent, thus average speed will increase to 40 kph,” MMDA General Manager Thomas Orbos said in an interview with reporters Wednesday.

“Windows 2” would be implemented through a two-hour period for vehicles with digits ending in odd and even from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

“The odd even ban would be every two hours which means from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. odd; 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. even; grace period from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. odd; 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. even; 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. odd and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. even,” Orbos explained.

He further said the scheme would cover private vehicles and those registered with ride sharing services such as Uber and Grab. Public utility vehicles are to be exempted.

Orbos said that Metro Manila mayors have been supportive of the proposal.

The MMDA would consult with transport groups, commuter organizations, members of the academe and transportation experts to gather inputs.

“The implementation of the modified odd even scheme could be a prelude to the establishment of congestion pricing in EDSA, which means motorists can use the roads but not at all times. There would be times where you will not be allowed to use the roads; if you still need them, you have to pay,” according to Orbos.

Congestion pricing or congestion charges is a system of surcharging users of public goods that are subject to congestion through excess demand such as higher peak charges for use of bus services, electricity, metros, railways, telephones, and road pricing to reduce traffic congestion.

He also disclosed that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) believes its implementation would not only decongest roads but also reduce carbon emissions in Metro Manila.

The MMDA official advised motorists to be aware of the times they will be allowed along EDSA and instead to traverse through alternate routes.

Meanwhile, Orbos said the Metro Manila mayors urged the MMDA to intensify its efforts to clear illegally parked vehicles and other obstructions along the Mabuhay Lanes and other arterial routes as well as remove illegal bus terminals in Pasay City and Cubao in Quezon City.

There are other solutions being considered by the MMDA to ease congestion across the metropolis. Among these are clearing the Roxas Boulevard service road for northbound vehicles, relocating the Southwest Provincial Bus Terminal from Coastal Road to Macapagal Highway towards Roxas Boulevard, and banning light trucks along EDSA Mandaluyong and Pasig from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. for southbound and from 5p.m. to 10p.m. for northbound.

Orbos also said the completion of vital infrastructure projects and improvement of mass transportation are the long term solutions to resolve the traffic situation in Metro Manila. Aerol B. Patena/PNA