There are different forms of car rotation, and the one being implemented in Metro Manila is called the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVRP). Its goal is to bring down congestion rates in the already very congested roads of the Metro. Basically, it’s a day off for your car and its steel tubes.
The Unified Vehicular Reduction was originally conceived by Col. Romeo Maganto. In October 1995, it was initially implemented on an experimental basis throughout the Metro. At first it only affected public transportation, until it eventually covered all vehicles that go through EDSA. A month later, due to the insistence of transport groups, the UVRP’s reach has extended throughout most of Metro Manila.
Two decades ago, the UVRP worked like this: cars whose plate numbers end in odd numbers cannot travel on EDSA every Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while those with plates that end in even numbers are prohibited on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
But now, the UVRP has an entirely different scheme. For each day of the work week, there are two corresponding numbers assigned to it. On a particular work day, vehicles whose plate number ends in the corresponding number assigned to that day will not be able to travel most roads of the Metro from 7AM to 7PM. For Mondays it’s 0 and 1, then it’s 2 and 3 on Tuesdays, 4 and 5 on Wednesdays, 6 and 7 on Thursdays, and 8 and 9 on Fridays. For the sake of clarity, vehicles not allowed to travel on a particular day may do so any other day of the week. This traffic scheme does not affect Saturdays and Sundays. Failing to abide by the rules may get a driver fined with a large fee, if not caught or have your license confiscated.
While most of Metro Manila is regulated by the UVRP scheme, there are some cities that allow what they call a “window” during the day. This allows the numbering program to be lifted for a few hours. Each city has its own customized rules, so it is best to thoroughly know about the rules of the city you’ll be driving in before going there, especially during the day when your car is affected the numbering scheme. However, despite individual city rulings, some roads are permanently exempted from this rule; a good example of this would be roads close to airports.
The effectiveness of the UVRP is arguable. Some deem it as a necessary evil, while others disagree and point out that it is something that can be used by corrupt officers in order to extort money from drivers. Then there are people who believe that the issue of whether the practice of car rotation is right or wrong is not really an issue the government should spend too much time on. Once better roads are built and congestion is eased, traffic schemes such as this one will become irrelevant.
Nevertheless, despite conflicting opinions about its effectiveness and implementation, it’s an undeniable fact that the UVRP scheme helps reduce the already unbearable volume of cars on the streets of the Metro. Just imagine how congested our roads will be if we didn’t have this kind of car rotation.