number coding in the philippines | Moneymax

The world is gradually going back to normal. Signs of pre-pandemic normalcy can be seen everywhere: malls teeming with people, cafés full of reuniting friends, and of course, roads that accommodate a lot of cars.

Last year, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) brought back the number coding scheme during rush hour in the afternoon. The program is on-going, meaning motorists should observe it to avoid being apprehended.

Saying that driving around the metro is a herculean task is like saying that the sun is hot. It’s impossible to go out without expecting that you’ll get stuck in the middle of a sea of cars.

As such, plan your trips wisely. Here’s your refresher on the number coding in the Philippines. Also included are the plans that the MMDA may implement sometime in May 2022.

What is Number Coding in Metro Manila?

number coding in the Philippines - mmda advisory

Formally known as the Modified Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP), the number coding scheme is a traffic management strategy implemented by the MMDA for reducing the number of cars—and ultimately ease congestion—on the road.

What are the Number Coding Hours in Metro Manila for 2022?

The latest number coding in Metro Manila is implemented during rush hour in the afternoon from Monday to Friday, from 5 p.m. to 8.pm. Holidays and weekends, however, are exempted from the number coding scheme.[1]

The number coding scheme primarily covers private vehicles. The last digit of your vehicle’s plate number will determine the day of the week when you’re not allowed to hit the road.

Check out this table so you can plan your trip accordingly.

License Plate EndingProhibited Days
1 and 2Mondays
3 and 4Tuesdays
5 and 6Wednesdays
7 and 8Thursdays
9 and 0Fridays

For example, if your license plate number ends in 0, you can’t drive your vehicle on Fridays along EDSA and other major roads in Metro Manila where the coding scheme is enforced. Otherwise, you’ll be apprehended, ticketed, and required to pay the penalty fee for UVVRP violation.

Where Does Number Coding Apply in the Philippines?

Number Coding in the Philippines - Coverage Areas

According to the MMDA, all cities and town within Metro Manila are covered by the number coding scheme. However, Makati City is excluded from the program since it has its own traffic code.

All major roads in cities under the jurisdiction of the MMDA shall follow the number coding scheme. Here are the major thoroughfares that you need to keep in mind:

  • EDSA
  • C5
  • Recto Avenue
  • Quirino Avenue
  • Araneta Avenue
  • C6
  • Roxas Boulevard
  • Taft Avenue
  • South Luzon Expressway (SLEX)
  • Shaw Boulevard
  • Ortigas Avenue
  • Bonifacio Avenue
  • Rizal Avenue
  • Quezon Avenue
  • Marcos Highway
  • Del Pan
  • Magsaysay Boulevard
  • Aurora Boulevard
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Important reminder: Each town or city may have its own traffic rules. Before you drive, we encourage you to check with your local government about your city’s number coding scheme and related traffic rules.

Does the MMDA Have Any Future Plans for the Number Coding Scheme?

Various reports have said that the MMDA has been mulling the expansion of the number coding in Metro Manila this 2022. The said plans have even received mixed reactions from the driving public.

Earlier in April, the MMDA said that possible changes to the existing number coding scheme might happen following the May 9 elections. This is definitely an attempt to reduce the volume of vehicles on the road; the current number coding scheme could reduce traffic only by 20%

MMDA General Manager Frisco San Juan explained that they were talking to other government agencies to hear their suggestions on which of the two new number coding scheme options would be carried out.[2]

The two options are the modified number coding scheme and the odd-even scheme. Here are their differences.

First Option: Odd-Even Scheme

The odd-even scheme will be poised to reduce traffic by 50%. According to initial plans, vehicles whose plate numbers end in 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 won’t be allowed to travel from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays.

On the other hand, vehicles with plate numbers ending in 2, 4, 6, 8, and 0 will be banned from the road on Tuesdays and Fridays during the same time slots. Wednesdays will be no-coding days.

Second Option: Modified Number Coding Scheme

This scheme will be an expansion of the existing program. Under this proposal, vehicles with the following last numbers won’t be allowed to travel on certain days.

  • Monday: plate numbers ending in 1, 2, 3, and 4
  • Tuesday: plate numbers ending in 5, 6, 7, and 8
  • Wednesday: plate numbers ending in 9, 0, 1, and 2
  • Thursday: plate numbers ending in 3, 4, 5, and 6
  • Friday: plate numbers ending in 7, 8, 9, and 0

There’s still no final word on the proposed modifications of the number coding scheme in Metro Manila. As of this writing, the MMDA is still studying the matter. The agency stresses that changes in the policy should be approved by the Metro Manila Council.

FAQs on Number Coding Scheme in the Philippines

number coding in the Philippines - traffic jams

Let’s be honest. The number coding scheme in Metro Manila is confusing. So naturally, you’re dealing with a lot of questions and concerns right now. This section seeks to answer some of your queries.

1. What kinds of vehicles are exempted from the number coding scheme?

According to the MMDA, the vehicles exempted from the number coding scheme include the following:

  • Public utility vehicles or PUVs (including tricycles)
  • Transport network vehicle services (TNVS)
  • Motorcycles
  • Garbage trucks
  • Fuel trucks
  • Motor vehicles that carry essential and/or perishable goods

Important reminder: According to the MMDA, the above list does not apply to Makati City.

2. What is Makati’s traffic reduction program if MMDA’s number coding scheme isn’t implemented there?

The MMDA makes it known that Makati City is back to its normal coding scheme, which is different from what the rest of Metro Manila is following. Coded vehicles won’t be allowed to be driven around the city from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.[3] Furthermore, there are no window hours.

The Makati City Government, meanwhile, says that the coding scheme is automatically lifted on holidays.

3. Are medical workers exempted from the number coding scheme?  

As of this writing, vehicles transporting medical doctors are now exempted from the number coding scheme,[4] according to the MMDA memorandum issued on May 4, 2022.

If you’re a physician traveling along coding-covered areas, you won’t be issued a citation ticket, as long as you present your valid and updated PRC ID card to the MMDA officer when you’re flagged down for number coding violation.

4. Are senior citizens also exempted from coding?

Senior citizens can also be exempted from the number coding system as long as they apply for it and their application is approved.

If you’re in Makati, however, you’ll be observing a different rule. According to the MMDA, exemptions are removed, except for vehicles carrying senior citizens with Blu Card or passengers under official functions and medical emergencies.

5. How do I apply for an exemption from the number coding scheme?

If you’re a senior citizen, medical worker, or individual who owns a vehicle that carries people with special needs or perishable products, you can apply for an exemption from the number coding scheme.

Here’s the number coding exemption application procedure:

  1. Send a letter of request addressed to the MMDA’s Office of the Chairman (MMDA Main Building, Edsa corner Orense St., Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City).
  2. Enclose a photocopy of the OR/CR of your vehicle.
  3. Once your request is approved, pay the exemption fee of ₱1,000 (for both private and business vehicles) at the MMDA’s Treasury Department (6th floor of the MMDA Building).

Important reminder: The exemption you’ll apply for will cover the following period: January 1 up to June 30 or July 1 up to December 31 of the current year.

6. Is the truck ban at major roads in Metro Manila still suspended?

The truck ban in Metro Manila roads—except for EDSA—remains suspended until further notice.

However, the uniform light truck ban on EDSA has resumed since December 1, 2021 along with the reimplementation of the modified number coding in the Philippines. Light trucks are not allowed to pass through EDSA between Magallanes in Makati and North Avenue in Quezon City, for both northbound and southbound, on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., except during holidays.

The MMDA defines light trucks as vehicles with gross capacity weight of 4,500 kg, six or more tires, and a payload of which are either close or open, whether for personal or commercial use.

Like the number coding scheme, light truck ban exemptions include garbage trucks, fuel trucks, and trucks carrying essential or perishable goods.

7. When is the number coding usually lifted?

Coding days in Metro Manila and nearby cities are usually suspended during public holidays and weekends. Nevertheless, the MMDA also announces the number coding suspensions during calamities (typhoons, volcanic eruptions, etc.). It may even lift number coding during public transport failures, like nationwide transport strikes or temporary closures of MRT/LRT lines.

8. What is the penalty for number coding violations?

In case you get caught violating the number coding scheme, you’ll need to pay a ₱300 fine. You must settle the said penalty within seven days. Otherwise, additional fines may await you, especially during your driver’s license renewal.      

If you’re wondering how you’re supposed to settle the fine for your number coding scheme violation, the MMDA actually has a list of payment channels to choose from, including the following:

  • MMDA Traffic Management Division
  • Landbank Link Biz Portal
  • Bayad Center
  • SM Bills Payment
  • PayMaya
  • GCash
  • GrabPay

Read more: MMDA Violation Code and Penalty Fee List for Motorists in Metro Manila

How to Survive Number Coding in the Philippines

Truth be told, the number coding system is a hassle for a lot of vehicle owners, especially if they travel long distances from, to, and within the metro. Here are some handy tips that will help you survive coding days.

1. Bring Your New Normal Essentials

Metro Manila may be starting to look like its former self. But you have to remember that the coronavirus is still around.

If your car happens to be covered by the number coding scheme, you’ll find yourself taking the commute (unless you have another car). Make sure that you have with you the new normal essentials, such as a face mask (plus an extra one), hand sanitizer, and your vaccination card.

As much as possible, observe social distancing, especially when you’re queuing at terminals or riding public utility vehicles (if possible).

2. Leave Earlier

Since the reimplementation of the number coding scheme targets afternoon and evening hours, you can still use your vehicle in the morning. If you have a trip in the afternoon, leave the house earlier than usual.

Make sure you have a buffer for traffic jams, so you won’t be caught within the targeted times. On the other hand, if you’re leaving in the evening, hit the road a few minutes after 8 p.m.

3. Book Your Ride Using a Ride-Hailing App 

number coding in the Philippines - Book Your Ride Using a Ride-Hailing App

Since TNVS vehicles are exempted from the number coding scheme, you can simply book your ride. One upside of this option is that you can minimize your contact with the public, thus reducing your chances of getting exposed to the virus.  

However, you need to anticipate the competition, especially if you’re living in or traveling within central business districts. Allot some time for booking your ride, so you won’t be late to your appointments,

4. Consider Carpooling  

Sometimes, joining a carpool makes a much more sensible choice than booking a TNVS ride. You can save money, especially if the owner of the vehicle doesn’t charge that much. You can even join Facebook groups where you can find a car owner who schedules carpools near your location.

If you don’t feel like joining strangers, you can ask a family member, your neighbor, a close friend, or a colleague to initiate this. In turn, offer your ride when their vehicle is covered by the number coding scheme.

5. Consider Other Modes of Transportation

number coding in the Philippines - Consider Other Modes of Transportation

There are other options that will take you from point A to point B. If the destination is not that far, why not walk or ride your bike? Your trip will also double as an exercise. 

You may also choose to use your e-bike or e-scooter. However, remember that e-bikes and e-scooters are not allowed in major thoroughfares. Using them also requires you to wear protective equipment, such as a helmet.

Final Thoughts

EDSA and other major roads in the metro are congested once again. It’s a telltale sign that things have already started going back to normal. If you’re being summoned back to the office, maybe now’s the time to review the number coding in the Philippines.

You may think that this is a band-aid solution (which, in a great part, it is), but remembering the rules will spare you the headache and stress due to being caught and fined by the authorities.

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