Apat Dapat

For those who are not familiar with the area, Julia Vargas Avenue is only a three lane road. The outer most lane partially being a bicycle lane as well. Meanwhile, the inner most lane caters to those drivers turning left at intersections. Currently, the designated carpool lane will be the second (middle) one. That begs the question as to which lane drivers without the minium required passengers will use.

Further causing confusion (and anger) is the City's ruling on intersection behavior. In this new scheme, motorists turning coming from Ortigas Center turning left into Lanuza Avenue are advised to merge at least 60 meters before the corner. As for those coming from C-5, there are advised to do the same when turning right. If you are coming from Lanuza Avenue, you may temporarily drive on the carpool lane, but only within 60 meters, as advised by the Pasig Command Center. The same applies if you are coming from Molave Street in Valle Verde.

While the MMDA may have scrapped the carpool/HOV lane scheme in EDSA, other local government units seem to have picked up the idea for use on heavily congested roads. To be specific, Pasig City officials appears to be enforcing a new carpool lane along the 2.3-km stretch of Julia Varagas Avenue.

Unlike the HOV/Car Pool lane implementation on EDSA which only required at least two passenger, the one being implemented on Julia Varagas requires a miniumum of four people in the vehicle. Implementation of the new car pool lane is expected to be rolled out on February 28. However, local government officials have already placed road signs to make motorists aware of the impending carpool lane.

Pasig Command Center calls this 'traffic reduction scheme' as 'Apat Dapat'. As the name implies, there should be at least four occupants in a vehicle to be able to use the carpool lane on the already narrow corridor. That means everyone else will have to squeeze themselves in the left lane. While traffic reduction schemes are worth lauding, social media commenters are saying that Julia Vargas is far too narrow to have a carpooling lane.

To avoid all confusion, it is advised to stick to the left lane if you have less than four on board and wait in a line that is likely to span over a kilometer. Better yet, avoid travel though the avenue unless you absolutely have to or live in Valle Verde. If there is a silver lining to all this, the City is experimenting it meaning it may be scrapped eventually.

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