MMDA holds off full implementation of driver-only car ban; dry run stays

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 17) — The full implementation of the controversial driver-only car ban on EDSA is on hold.

"Tuloy lang po ang dry run. Ang atin pong full enforcement on August 23 will be suspended until magconvene ang Metro Manila Council," MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said in a media briefing on Friday.

[Translation: The dry run continues. Our full enforcement on August 23 will be suspended until the Metro Manila Council convenes.]

The new traffic rule – also known as High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) policy – prevents cars with only the driver from the main thoroughfare during rush hour.

The Metro Manila Council – which groups mayors of all 16 cities and one municipality – is expected to meet on the matter next week. This comes after a Senate resolution called for the scheme's suspension. Senators said there was no consultation before the policy was set in place.

"Unanimously naman nagkausap-usap kami noong mga mayors, of course nirerespeto natin ang Senate," said Garcia.

[Translation: We spoke with the mayors, and unanimously, we all respect the Senate.]

The MMDA says the driver-only ban will take 40 percent of cars off the road and increase travel speed from 11.78 kilometers per hour (kph) to 31.29 kph. Garcia said the policy encourages carpooling. However, critics believe it will only clog up other roads and inconvenience motorists.

Under the dry run, the MMDA spotted over 6,700 violators in two days. No apprehensions are to be made over this period. However, Garcia urged drivers to participate nonetheless.

"Magparticipate lang tayo, subukan natin [Please participate, just try]," said Garcia.

The MMDA said the policy was only a band-aid solution as big ticket infrastructure projects are still under construction.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Rex Remitio contributed to this report.