SENATOR GRACE Poe-Llamanzares on Monday said the expanded High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) traffic-reduction scheme is not fit for a place like Metro Manila.
In an interview with reporters, Ms. Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, said the HOV policy, which was approved by the Metro Manila Council (MMC) earlier this month and is currently being implemented on a test run in EDSA, would not work if the alternative routes are also congested.
“Ang High Occupancy Vehicles ay nagtatagumpay sa lugar na may ibang kalsada na pwede gamitin pero dito sa atin, siksikan sa mga ibang kalsada, Baka mahirapan talaga tayo,” she said.
The HOV scheme bars all driver-only vehicles from passing through EDSA from 7 to 10 a.m. and 6 to 9 p.m.
She added, “Dapat meron silang pag-aaral na iprepresenta sa madla at sa senado (They should have a study they can present to the public and the Senate).”
She said the MMC should also provide information if the dry run has shown improvement in traffic flow along EDSA and if it did encourage commuters to do carpooling.
Under the test run, the ban is in place, but violators would not be slapped with the fine.
Ms. Poe stressed that the government should focus on other ways to ease traffic congestion and transportation problems in the capital, such as completing the North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway connector road and expediting the delivery of trains ordered from China.
The MMC, the policy-making body of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), is composed of the mayors and congressmen from the National Capital Region.
Meanwhile, Ms. Poe also said that she will call for Senate hearings on the public utility jeepney (PUJ) modernization program.
“Kung puwedeng isabay sa budget o magkakaroon ng hiwalay na hearing, lalo na do’n sa mga memorandum circular na bagong ipinatutupad ng (If possible, it will be simultaneous with the budget hearing, or separate, particularly on the new memorandum circular that will be implemented by the) DOTr (Department of Transportation),” she said.
Ms. Poe noted that the planned ₱80,000 subsidy per vehicle seems insufficient.
She added that while she is not against the modernization program, she wants government to first sort out the guidelines and procedures to ensure that affected drivers are not burdened. — Gillian M. Cortez