MMDA traffic scheme to give rise to ‘passengers-for-hire,’ De Lima warns

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has asked the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to seriously reconsider its plan to prohibit driver-only vehicles from plying along EDSA during rush hours.

De Lima said the latest MMDA’s traffic scheme might just give birth to “passengers-for hire,” also referred as “car jockeys,” who could make an earning out of being the second or third person in private vehicles plying along EDSA.

“Our government should abandon its bad habit of experimenting on how to ease out traffic congestion during rush hours. It cannot always try its luck through a trial-and-error in resolving the perennial traffic problem,” she said.

“While car-pooling may be commendable, this plan prohibiting driver-only vehicles along EDSA could give rise to paid car jockeys who are more than willing to risk their own safety by getting into the cars of strangers just to earn money,” she added.

Last Aug. 7, the Metro Manila Council (MMC) approved MMDA’s High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) regulation, which aims to ban single passenger private vehicles on EDSA during peak hours, which were not specified.

Under the directive, only vehicles with two or more passengers would be allowed to pass through EDSA.

De Lima, who chairs the Senate social justice, welfare and rural development committee, noted that the “peak-time rule of three people to one car” has already been tested and implemented in Jakarta, Indonesia but has proven to be ineffective.

In Indonesia, the so-called “3-in-1 rule” which was introduced in 2003 did not only give rise to passengers-for-hire–which included children who left their schools to be fulltime jockeys–but also worsened the traffic in Jakarta.

“This instance should remind our government to rethink its plan before fully implementing the HOV because aside from possibly worsening the traffic in EDSA, they might put the safety of the Filipino people, especially those from the poor sectors of society, in great peril,” she said.

The Senator from Bicol reiterated his legislative proposal, logged as Senate Bill 1897, which seeks to create the Philippine Road Safety Institute to look closely into the myriad aspects of road and transportation safety situation in the Philippines.

She has also filed Senate Bill 1905 which seeks to implement measures that would free sidewalks and public roads of any obstructions that impede the public safety and convenience.

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