For more than three months starting October 17, the window hours under the number coding scheme will be suspended for private vehicles traversing EDSA, C5, Roxas Boulevard, and Alabang-Zapote road as well as those passing through the cities of Makati, Las Piñas, and Mandaluyong.
In a bid to decongest traffic in Metro Manila this Christmas season, the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT) had appealed to the Metro Manila Council (MMC) to pass a resolution suspending the window hours under the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program, otherwise known as the number coding scheme, from October 17 to January 31.
The current number coding scheme starts from 7 a.m. and ends 7.p.m., with window hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in which motorists covered by the scheme on a specific day can still pass through without being apprehended. A dry run of the no window hours program will be implemented on October 12 to October 14.
Earlier, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) had said the no window hours would only be implemented on EDSA and C5 starting on October 31.
I-ACT is composed of the Department of Transportation (DOTr)-attached agencies Land Transportation Office and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board; MMDA; Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group; and volunteers from transport groups called Force Multipliers.
I-ACT’s appeal was made in anticipation of the rise in the volume of vehicles in Metro Manila in the next few months, DOTr said in a statement.
Public utility vehicles, on the other hand, must still strictly observe the number coding scheme with no window hours as well.
After January 31, DOTr said I-ACT will assess the impact of the no window hours and determine if the measure succeeded in reducing traffic congestion in the metropolis. The assessment will be submitted to the MMC, which will decide if it should be implemented further or even permanently.
Anticipating heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic during the Christmas holiday, I-ACT also held a dialogue with operators of utility companies about setting a moratorium on road repairs and diggings starting November 1, 2016 up to January 9, 2017.
The moratorium shall cover all road works by utility companies and government agencies, except flagship projects such as the Skyway 3.
The inter-agency group also talked to various mall operators in Metro Manila to discuss how they can cooperate with the government on measures to minimize traffic jams in the metropolis during Christmastime.
Authorities have observed that mall sales held in years past caused traffic gridlocks near such establishments as customers and vehicles flocked to the malls.
To avoid a repeat of these scenes, I-ACT said mall owners need to submit a detailed traffic management plan to the Council two weeks before their planned mall sale in order to make sure motorists are not inconvenienced by such events.
Further, I-ACT is requiring mall operators not to schedule any mall sales during weekdays but only on weekends.
Both parties agreed to implement this understanding starting October 21.
The inter-agency group likewise urged mall owners to start adjusting their mall operating hours to a later schedule of 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. starting November 1.
In the coming weeks, I-ACT plans to set a dialogue with mall traffic managers to discuss the requirements for producing the traffic management plan, as well as the terms of cooperation between mall owners and the government for addressing traffic issues.