Sub-400cc motorcycle ban on Osmeña Highway: Who will enforce it?

The plot thickens
by Aris Ilagan | Jul 9, 2019
PHOTO: Aris Ilagan

Don’t look at us. So says the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), which claims it has nothing to do with the impending ban on sub-400cc motorcycles on Osmeña Highway.

Formerly a part of South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), this road section stretches from Sales Bridge in Pasay City to Quirino Avenue in Manila. It’s now one of the busiest and most traffic-prone thoroughfares in Metro Manila. And above the at grade section is Section 1 of Skyway Stage 3, which is set to open in two weeks’ time.

Before we proceed, let’s review the controversial traffic policy. The advisory reads: “Effective July 22, 2019: Motorcycle below 400cc not allowed at Skyway at grade from Sales (Interchange) going to Manila, Makati and Pasay. Take Pasong Tamo Extension.”

At least five placards bearing this advisory are now positioned in the area of Sales Bridge, which is being manned by MMDA traffic enforcers. Two can be found on the access road from East Service Road (under Sales Bridge and adjacent to the railway station), which leads to the northbound section of Osmeña Highway.

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Night and day, the access road is manned by MMDA constables, although SLEX and Skyway patrolmen show up every now and then to unclog traffic on Skyway’s on-ramps at Magallanes, Amorsolo Street, and Buendia Avenue.

At present, horders of motorcycles coming from East and West Service Roads pass through Osmeña Highway to Pasay, Makati, and Manila. We think motorbikes already outnumber four-wheelers on these strips. And starting July 22, 2019, two-wheelers will have to divert to Pasong Tamo Extension, a narrow secondary road where traffic is hellish day in and day out.

MMDA Special Operations Group chief Bong Nebrija took to social media to set the record straight: “To my motorcycle riding friends. Let me just clarify it’s not MMDA’s policy prohibiting less than 400cc bikes from passing Osmeña Hiway from Sales in Pasay to Quirino Ave in Manila. Its Skyway’s Policy. As to what agency who will enforce this is still unclear.”

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Nebrida literally said it’s the Skyway management that’s behind the impending ban. And more than anything, it’s the last sentence of his post that will likely leave the riders hanging.

For so long, MMDA traffic enforcers—with the help of traffic aides from the cities of Pasay, Makati, and Manila—manage the flow of vehicles on Osmeña Highway (at grade level), which is a toll-free facility.

Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) spokesperson Bert Suansing earlier told Moto Sapiens that the Skyway O&M Company (SOMCO) and Citra have no more jurisdiction over Osmeña Highway (at grade level) given that it’s a toll-free road. This stretch is now being maintained by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), while traffic management, particularly on intersections, is being handled by the MMDA and the local government units of Pasay, Makati, and Manila. 

SLEX, on the other hand, is now jointly operated by Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC) and the San Miguel Corporation (SMC).

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Apparently, SOMCO wants Osmeña Highway under its control because of the opening of Section 1 of Skyway Stage 3. Do we foresee more Skyway patrolmen manning the traffic on the ground level of Skyway 3 to assure their patrons of smooth-flowing traffic? After all, that’s what the toll-road users are paying for, right?

Here are more questions: Will the MMDA and local traffic enforcers stay put on Osmeña Highway come July 22? Or are they going to disappear as the Skyway traffic enforcers take over this stretch?

We’re pretty sure our readers would like to hear from SOMCO, too.

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PHOTO: Aris Ilagan
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