MMDA's proposed HOVL

There has been a buzz in the local news since yesterday, after Metro Manila mayors approved Metropolitan Manila Development Authorities’ (MMDA) proposed high occupancy vehicle lanes (HOVL) on EDSA. This scheme seeks to ban solo-occupied cars on EDSA during rush hours. 

However, details regarding this new HOVL scheme that you see on the internet are somehow contradicting from one another. There are publications who report that it’s a total ban for one-man-occupied vehicles, while a statement from MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia states that the agency will allot “two or more lanes for HOVs.” 

[UPDATE] Here are the implementing rules and regulations of HOV Traffic Scheme

Now may not be the time to give violent reactions, not until the implementing rules and regulations are out. But, in case it will be a total ban, like how the reports are saying, we thought maybe it’s a great time to speculate what might happen when things are already up and running.

More carpooling; more chances of meeting strangers. 

The goal of this HOVL scheme is to promote carpooling, hoping that the volume of vehicles traversing EDSA would be reduced. More people sharing a vehicle means less number of vehicles, so traffic would be a lot easier to manage. So, if you’ve been commuting or driving alone on your way to work for the past years, assemble your buddies to ride with you. Besides, this could be the perfect time to meet more people and establish a network of useful contacts. We mean, why not, right?

Brace yourselves for jammed side streets. 

Where else would the banned vehicles go? Alternate routes will be the thing of the HOVL era and more barangay streets will be clogged and unpassable. These narrow streets are crowded with tricycles, pedicabs, parked vehicles, and children so expect that it would be a major headache for the residents. Good luck with that.

Sales of lifesize stuffed toys will bubble up. 

Of course, when nobody wants to ride with you—say you don’t have any visible friends in life—or it just happens that all your friends have got someone to ride with already, what else is there to do? Knowing that the alternate routes are already polluted with single-occupied vehicles, will you still squeeze in and hope for a miracle?

Of course, there will be those who’ll wish to get away with it by bringing in Baymax on the passenger seat. How cool is it to see a stopped vehicle with an enforced taking out Baymax from the passenger seat? Let’s just hope this doesn’t happen by then, shall we? 

Everyone will be forced to bring out the artists in them. 

Artists don’t allow themselves to be boxed to conformity. Instead, they break the chains of society and stand out. The bad side of this is when a driver executes this to get away from the HOVL scheme. Prepare yourselves to seeing suspiciously occupied passenger seats.

Lifesize stuffed toys, bust figurines, or anything that would look like a person from outside the car are just among the ideas that might rise up. You might even see empty seats with caps on the headrests just to make them appear occupied. We don’t recommend it, though, as MMDA employs high-powered cameras to check cars.

Dating sites will fly off the charts. 

Of course, if one’s alone and sad, there’s what they call online dating sites to meet people even from across the globe. People, ideas, they’re the most precious. With these sites’ existence, plus the possible implementation of the HOVL scheme, we could expect an inflation on the downloads of dating apps. 

Are we bound to read a bio that says, “Not after a commitment, just looking for someone to ride with me every day. P.S., I’m a defensive driver." You know, you’ve probably read worse and weirder things in there.

Motorcycle sales will ladder up. 

This is more on the factual side. What’s a better way to slice through traffic than riding a motorcycle. You could easily split lanes and outrun stuck vehicles as long as you do it with care. They are way cheaper, they chug in less gasoline, they’re light, and more fun to drive with the breeze and adrenaline pumped out in your veins. 

If you’re more of an environmentalist, you may opt to ride a bicycle as they are way cheaper, chug no gasoline, super light, and more exciting to pedal and sweat. It’s a great way to exercise your muscles and organs, too.

Inline photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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