Heavier traffic violation fines greet Metro Manila motorists

January 7, 2019 - 11:15 AM
MMDA manning traffic
MMDA enforcers check vehicles during a dry run of the High-Occupancy Vehicle traffic scheme on EDSA in Cubao, Quezon City. (The STAR/Boy Santos)

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is set to impose its 400 percent increase on illegal parking and road obstruction fees on Monday, January 7, 2019.

Motorists with illegally parked vehicles will be fined P1,000 versus the previous P200, while those who leave their vehicles unattended will now pay P2,000 versus the previous rate of P500.

Vehicles caught obstructing the road by illegally loading and unloading passengers and those caught violating one-way signs will be fined P1,000, from the original rate of P150.

The fee for yellow lane violators has also been raised to P1,000 from P500 for private vehicles and P300 for public utility vehicles.

“Motorists should follow traffic rules because the penalties increased by 400 percent. This is not a dry run,” said Bong Nebrija, MMDA traffic head for EDSA said in a recent statement.

Some local government units have also reminded residents of the hefty new penalties for violators.

The new fines were initially scheduled to be imposed as early as December 2018 but the MMDA decided to postpone the imposition to prepare the parking tickets containing the new fines and to allow more time for motorists to be informed about the new rates.

“The fines are really higher now that’s why information dissemination is really important,” MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago earlier said.

Credible solution?

The raising of the traffic penalties was mulled as early as August 2018 after the Metro Manila Council that month agreed that disciplining errant motorists would help ease the constant gridlock on Metro Manila roads.

“Despite the efforts of MMDA to clear roads of obstructions, many of our countrymen are still hardheaded. This is why the MMC decided to make the fines higher to promote discipline,” Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista said to the media.

The MMDA has also proposed the narrowing of traffic lanes in EDSA in order to create one more lane for private vehicles without having to undergo road widening.

“We cannot widen EDSA anymore. EDSA is EDSA as it is right now. The engineering intervention we can do is to add one more lane without widening the road. (But the) real solution for now without the engineering intervention is volume reduction,” Nebrija told Business World in December 2018.

The MMDA in August 2018 briefly banned driver-only vehicles in EDSA but eventually suspended the project’s full implementation. While traffic on EDSA was greatly reduced during the period, motorists complained that the traffic only migrated to other major thoroughfares such as C-5 where driver-only cars could pass through.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency in February 2017 estimated that the Philippines loses P3.5 billion daily due to intense traffic in Metro Manila.

Aside from the new traffic schemes, several road repairs, bridge constructions and development of new train lines around the metropolis as part of the administration’s Build Build Build infrastructure drive are also estimated to reduce the daily losses to P3 billion.