The Ber months are back, and along with the Christmas decorations and Jose Mari Chan's Christmas in Our Hearts playing in an endless loop--hellish holiday season traffic.
Just like last year, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is calling for mall operators to assist it in its fight against the growing sea of red lights. According to MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago, the agency is already scheduling talks with various mall managements to address the issue.
"We are already scheduling a dialogue with mall operators," Celine told us over the phone. "Usually mga banda October nagststart yung sa malls," she added.
While Celine made no mention of exactly what policies would be discussed with operators, we think it's safe to assume it'll be something along the lines of adjusted operating hours and traffic rerouting schemes around malls.
In 2017, malls along Manila's major thoroughfares agreed to make changes to their operating and delivery hours from October 15 to January 15, 2018. Ayala Malls, Robinsons Malls, Rockwell, Shangri-La and SM Malls all took part.
Celine said that the move comes in a bid to address holiday traffic amidst several major bridge repairs and the continuing dry-run of the MMDA and Metro Manila Council's HOV/carpooling policy on EDSA.
"The dry-run [of the carpooling policy] is continuing. Technically, we're just counting cars that comply and don't comply, as well as heavily-tinted vehicles. We are waiting for another opportunity to discuss this. We requested for an audience with Bong Go and the President," Celine told us.
"Now na tuloy lang dry run, we have to focus on other ways to solve traffic in Manila muna because it's the Ber months," she added. Bridges will be repaired eh, so kailangan focused sa ibang policy muna. We can only do so much for now with the rising number of vehicles."
We'll release a list of adjusted mall hours as soon as operators or the MMDA make one available. Keep your eyes on our website for further updates.