'Road pricing' along EDSA being explored, says DOTr consultant

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 20 2020 10:21 PM | Updated as of Aug 21 2020 12:21 AM

Vehicles are caught in a standstill on EDSA-Guadalupe northbound on Aug. 9, 2019. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA (UPDATED) - Charging vehicles plying EDSA during rush hour is being explored to address the gridlock in the capital's major thoroughfare, a transportation official said Thursday.

This, after reports surfaced that officials are proposing to charge motorists using Metro Manila's main thoroughfare to lessen traffic.

Speaking to ABS-CBN's Teleradyo, Department of Transportation (DOTr) consultant Alberto Suansing said collecting toll on the busiest roads was being done abroad to discourage driving.

"I call it 'road pricing.' Ginagawa 'yan sa Singapore and some other places," he said.

"Ang purpose ng congestion charge is to dissuade 'yung mga motorista na kung hindi naman gaano kaimportante ang kanilang lakad... puwede nilang ipagpaliban."

Such a scheme was discussed in 2009 during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to solve the traffic problem plaguing EDSA, Suansing said. It was first brought up by transportation officials in 2001, when Benjamin Abalos was chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Placing toll charges from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. was being mulled then.

For Suansing, imposing congestion charge couldn't be done without fixing the public transit system first.

"As road pricing is concern, OK 'yan. Ang template is Singapore. But then you have to look closely kasi sa Singapore, maganda ang kanilang public transport system," he said.

"Kailangan muna ayusin natin ang public transport system kasi nga very inefficient. Insufficient pa. Doon tayo mag-umpisa bago tayo pumunta sa road pricing."

Records from the MMDA showed that more than 400,000 vehicles ply EDSA daily.

Philippine officials have been searching for solutions to problems posed by traffic in EDSA, which has been plaguing motorists even with the general community quarantine in place.

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