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GAMIT KA EDSA? BAYAD KA | Singapore model of congestion pricing eyed by PH traffic planners

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - Add this to the menu of options to ease traffic: following the Singapore model, allow private motorists to use EDSA at rush hour but make them pay "congestion" rates.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is mulling over a Congestion or Road Pricing along EDSA to curb congestion on Metro Manila's busiest thoroughfare.

It will be similar to the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) in Singapore, which was credited with limiting the number of private cars on busy roads during rush hours, while prodding people to use public transport.

Under ERP, vehicles that pass through certain roads classified as congestion-prone pay toll.

“We need a volume reduction measure -- whether odd-even, coding, etcetera.," MMDA acting Chairman Thomas Orbos told the media in a press briefing. And, he said, one of the solutions that they are now also looking into is “congestion pricing” similar to what is being implemented in Singapore.

“Someone offered that solution (congestion pricing) to us.The Singapore government [has] its offer to help us (the Philippine) government,” he said. Under the envisioned scheme, public transport will be exempted from congestion pricing.

Orbos and Department of Transportation officials met in early March with the Transport Minister of Singapore

“[We are seriously studying] congestion pricing, which means anybody can use EDSA but there are hours when we will charge for congestion pricing," he said, adding, "I’m not saying we will (immediately) do it but I’m saying let's check it out.”

Road congestion pricing was first implemented in Singapore as the Area License System (ALS) in 1975. It aims to reduce the numbers of vehicles in the city’s central area.

The system was replaced in 1998 by the electronic toll collection in the form of Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) in 1998.

Singapore, Orbos said, has since recorded a decline in the number of motorists plying the roads in central areas, while most of the commuters patronized public transport.

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