Talks to bring back NCAP get renewed amid increasing road violations

June 19, 2023 - 5:42 PM
A sign warning motorists of Quezon City’s no contact apprehension policy is seen at the corner of Kamias Road and Kalayaan Avenue (July 1, 2022). (The STAR/Jesse Bustos)

Transport advocates and other concerned Filipinos are once again eyeing the implementation of the no-contact apprehension policy (NCAP) amid the recent spate of traffic violations.

The NCAP makes use of cameras to monitor and flag erring motorists along EDSA and other roads in Metro Manila.

Last August 30, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against it due to legality issues, thus suspending its implementation.

Since then, the Metro Manila Development Authority recorded an increase in traffic violations along major roads in the region.

A common violation being reported online is the private vehicles’ persistent use of the EDSA Carousel Bus Lane even if it is illegal for them.

This lane is dedicated only to the public carousel buses, ambulance units and government vehicles responding to emergency scenes.

In a tweet, transport and mobility advocate Robert Anthony Siy (@goodkidbikecity) posted footage that showed what seemed to be a convoy using the exclusive bus lane.

The video he uploaded also showed the cars signaling an EDSA Carousel bus, which the lane was built for, to give way.

In his tweet, Siy supported the call to re-impose the NCAP.

“It’s a d*mn shame what has happened to the EDSA Carousel. Ang daming feeling VIP using the bus lane. This convoy even had its escorts furiously signaling for the bus to get out of the way,” he tweeted.

“@MMDA is right to call for the return of NCAP. Teach guys like this a lesson,” he added.

Siy did not mention the people behind the convoy in the footage he uploaded.

Several advocates and other Filipinos also slammed private car owners and motorcycle riders who pass through the EDSA Carousel Lane.

“Ideally, the only other type of vehicle that should be allowed in the exclusive EDSA Carousel bus lanes are emergency vehicles. Not VIPs, not regular red-plated vehicles, but actual emergency vehicles that need fast response times to get to incident scenes,” a cycling advocate with Twitter handle @siklo_mediko said.

“Sa true ba na VIP can use this lane??? Imagine buses and other emergencies makikipagsabayan ung VIP? For what reason bawal sila matraffic? To say that we have a good transport system?” another Twitter user asked.

Renewed talks about NCAP

A report said that MMDA logged around 32,700 traffic violations last May.

This was higher than the average of 9,514 violations before NCAP was suspended in the latter part of 2022.

Due to these findings, the Metro Manila Council (MMC) eyed the call for the High Court to lift the TRO on this traffic scheme.

In its TRO resolution, the SC acted on the following petitions:

  • On August 3, transport groups KAPIT, PASANG MASDA, ALTODAP, and ACTO filed a petition for certiorari against the five LGUs.
  • On August 18, a lawyer who was fined over P20,000 for alleged traffic violations sought a TRO on the implementation of NCAP in the City of Manila.

READ: LGUs told anew: Prioritize fixing traffic lights, road signs amid NCAP suspension 

Motorists and commuters also sounded off complaints on social media concerning NCAP. These include confusing rules by local government units (LGUs), hefty violations, faulty road signs, and other road and traffic problems.

RELATED: Fix road signs, traffic lights: Suggestions to improve no contact apprehension policy implementation

Reminder about the bus lane

MMDA acting chair Don Artes has previously issued a stern warning to all private motorists to “stay out” of the EDSA Carousel Lane.

“We keep on reminding motorists not to use the innermost lane of EDSA as it may result in an accident, but despite our repeated calls and pleas, many drivers of privately-owned vehicles and motorcycle riders disregard the policy,” Artes was quoted in a report as saying.

This warning was issued after a motorcycle rider died in a tragic hit-and-run incident along the EDSA Shaw Boulevard southbound lane.

Moreover, since June 5, MMDA has also been issuing tickets to motorists and motorcycle riders who were flagged for going inside the exclusive bus lane.

A total of 351 drivers have been ticketed, as of June 15. The fine for violating this scheme is set at P1,000.