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Car Restrictions in Davao

This morning Elena told me an interesting news item she heard on TV.

If you have been to Davao, you will have seen all the vehicle congestion downtown and on many of  the main roads. Well there is an ordinance approved but not yet implemented.

This new ordinance will limited to  private vehicles, not Busses, taxis or Jeepneys. The ordinance will restrict vehicles to only operate on an odd and even basis, based on the last number of their license plate. So if your plate number is 791, you can only drive on odd numbered days.

Reducing the amount of vehicles is a good idea because of the traffic congestion and the pollution but the biggest pollutant and traffic is by the public utility vehicles.

I know, most people living here cannot afford a car and need a way to get to work or shopping and with the low wages and cost of living, Jeepneys are the only choice they have. With this there is a need for all these jeepneys.

Too bad the government does not support the changing of these vehicles to electric powered ones that are already avaliable and in use in Manila. It is probably the cost to replace and too many to buy.

I hope in the future a better means of transit comes to be, so for now, hold your breath and watch the date if you drive yourself.

24 Responses to “Car Restrictions in Davao”

  1. Mindanao Bob says:

    I did not hear about this, but I think it’s great if it comes to be! Traffic in Davao is getting terrible. I also agree with you that the Jeepneys are terrible polluters (and tricycles too) and need to be cleaned up.

    We have two vehicles, and I was very happy when I just went and checked them… one is odd the other is even! 🙂

    • Bruce says:

      Elena informed me now that it has not been approved but being discussed. I think with it being on the morning Davao news it will probably go through. My big question is who will enforce it.

  2. vicki says:

    I thought this was already implemented throughout the Philippines? I believe the odd/even thing is already being done in Manila (or maybe all of Luzon). I seem to remember being told about this on one of my trips home years ago.

    • Bruce says:

      It has not been implemented here and I never knew about it anywhere until now. Unfortunately I do not think it will solve much since most vehicles are PUC (Public Utility Vehicles) Jeepneys, tricycles, multicabs and taxis.

  3. Mindanao Bob says:

    The odd/even is only in Metro Manila. Never been done outside MM as far as I know.

  4. mia says:

    Hi Bob and Bruce,

    The odd/even scheme is also now implemented in Baguio. Traffic there is horrible!!!

  5. don m. says:

    Sounds like one more good reason to move to the philippines!!hahaha

  6. macky says:

    this upsets me. i tend to think of the odd/even system as a last ditch desperate measure.
    for as long as i remember, everyone including me could see davao traffic growing. but there was still a lot if time to prepare. but as norm there, no one made any serious planning until it becomes too late.

    the system represents why i hated manila. the congestion, the bad planning. hard working families with one car (a huge investment) have to find other ways to get to school & office on off days. because of the ineptitude of city planners, the locals suffer. now, it’s happening to my davao and it’s only the beginning.

    by the way, mexico city, one of largest & polluted cities in the world, has the same system. that probably says something too.

    • Bruce says:

      I do not think zoning has ever had any sense seeing some of the streets so narrow a car has trouble driving through, never mind a truck. I think local bus service with bus stops would reduce vehicles traffic but where would all the jeepney drivers work?

  7. macky says:

    hi bruce,

    there are multiple ways. of course davao has roads that are too narrow to deal with, but a mix of public utility improvements (rail, ferry) and street planning would have worked.

    it was only a in the late 80s when the long lanang/bajada road was a 2 lane pocked marked asphalt road. so were other highways. if davao really planned it right (because you could really see growth coming even during the aquino administration), an expanded highway/freeway system & public rail would have still been possible.

    the downtown area’s narrow roads could have been planned the same way cities like florence or san francisco is done. a mix of pedrestrian & one way streets that flow into the highways.

    there is no reason for the jeepneys to go. just proper planning & alternatives.

    i’m just thinking as i type & some ideas may not make sense. after all, i don’t have a degree in city planning, but it was clear this traffic issue could have been avoided.

    lastly, i very well am aware that many of elected officials (local & national) take official trips & vacations to well-developed countries. they could have easily seen (& driven) in many of these countries freeways. i’ve even vacationed with a few of them.

    i always put myself in their shoes & wonder if they thought “hmm, this could work in davao”. same way any forward thinking businessman would do in their own businesses.

    sorry, one last thing. the city has been debating zoning since i was still in high school. i once saw the proposed maps over a decade ago. to this day, they have not settled on a definite agreement of it. that’s why you have a mishmash of zones all over davao. this could have helped too.

    • Bruce says:

      I wonder if it is politics, lack of engineering, or what it is that allowed the streets to be the way they are. Even parking is horrendous here as is the condition of sidewalks.
      About a year ago, when getting the traffic lights going, they added turning lanes at some intersections. Did they widen the roads, nope, they narrowed the traffic lanes so thin trucks would overlap the lanes. Then the drivers use the turning lanes as a third lane to jump ahead of the other cars.
      I guess until they get real traffic enforcement and train the drivers the rules, it will never change.

  8. macky says:

    i know this is all thinking “big”, but wouldn’t you expect that from city leaders? instead of just throwing in giant malls in every possible main artery to add to the problem?

    i prefer forward thinkers in office, not band-aiding the status quo.

    heck, i’m just 33 years old & saw it coming decades ago, i expect much much more from presumably older, wiser city leaders (who by the way have basically been in charge for almost 2 decades).

    i live a half hour from a city called queretaro. it’s in a 2009 short list of places to invest in jobs. that same list also includes davao (one of only 2 philippine cities). so, every time i go to queretaro, i compare it to davao, because it is in a way it’s competitor now. it’s also a young fledging city like davao, but they are building traffic ways that are very impressive & smooth. the bus terminal (another davao problem) is amazing, modern & properly located.

    this is what davao is up against now. it needs to start competing with the big boys in every aspect.

    no politics here. it’s just good old fashioned proper planning. my apologies, it’s just me having seen davao all my life & frustrated at the missed opportunities.

    • Bruce says:

      Macky for City Planner, then Mayor and maybe President, or will it be Prime Minister? hahaha
      This city is so over crowded, the only cure would be tear it down and start over, which we know will never happen.
      P.S. when do I get a Caricature? I could use a brand.

  9. jan says:

    Hello all,
    I’m living in the Manila area. It is already for years that they have implemented a rule like this here.
    Based on the license plate number: the numbers 1 and 2 cannot drive on mondays, 3 and 4 not on tuesdays and so on. Saturdays and sundays and official hollidays there are no restrictions.
    But this doesn’t help a lot. There’s too many cars driving in this region and as mentioned before in this post, the greatest polluters are jeepneys, trucks, busses and motorcycles (incl. tricycles). Pollution in the center of Manila it realy bad.

    I think the gouvernment should implement an obligation for all vehicles to be checked annual on technical status of the vehicle and on emission. If the vehicle doesn’t fit the standard: no licence plate. Aside from that a rule like in the Manila region should be implemented in all areas of the Philippines.
    But most important: the police force should be ‘mentally renovated’ to work properly according to the law and ban corruption in the force.
    One more thing is the way Filipinos behave on the road. But cannot be changed I guess.

    • Bruce says:

      So instead of restricting cars 3 days a week, each car is restricted only one. About emissions. There is emission testing, but I do not know how well it is administered since many older vehicles spew black smoke all the time.

      • Carl Seller says:

        i have just recently moved here and purchased a second hand vehicle ,as part of registration renewal it needed to be emissiontested .it went way over the top ,ps its a diesel,i was told my muffler needed cleaning. but then a knowing look and maybe because im a foreigner and had the cash in hand ,the machine was opened ,the hose disconnected and a new reading was done . and if by magic it went way under . im a motorengineer by trade and believe me im still laughing about it but looking at the pollution here it is no laughing matter .

        • Bruce says:

          Welcome to Davao. I am surprised they actually test emissions seeing all the black smoke coming out of vehicles.
          Did you have to pay anyone to check the machine? I hope to meet you here in the city. Maybe at one of the expat groups.

          • Carl Seller says:

            we have met already at the wine degustation night at the swiss deli restaurant a few weeks ago .unfortunately we never discussed about meetings for expats . and i have been rather busy at home and making arrangements for my hopefully soon to be wedding to my partner anita . anyhow im sure our paths will cross again some day and we can chat . its always good to catch up ,even though my heritage does not go back to the US as i was born in switzerland but spent 35 years in australia ,and now hopefully the rest of my life here in davao ,as this is truly an amazing place for retirement and very affordable too .

          • Bruce says:

            I remember you. We enjoyed some wine and cigs. There are 2 groups I attend, Friend of Mindanao that meets the first and third wednesday each month at 51 Coffee shop in the Victoria Mall compound at 9AM. There is another new group that meets at Coco’s on F Torres the first Wednesday of each month at 5pm.
            Even thought your a Swiss Ozzie, we will accept you. hahaha

          • Carl Seller says:

            ok thanks for the info i will try and catch up at some stage .my life here is very busy but i like it that way maybe we will see you at the agdao palengke one day we shop there too and often as we buy suplies for our store and grill house . mind you its only a small affair like sari sari and saging and some grills sold from home but we both enjoy this and it helps with income as i am in the same position as yourself ,another 7 years to wait for the pension .and my investments do hardly pay enough interest to live off that .but its fun and its new and exciting and my soon to be wife enjoys it as much as i do . we always get a laugh out of it when people at the market ask what the kano is doing buying saging at 5 in tha morning there . and to see theyre faces when they get the answer .but its all good ,people here are so friendly and after all they got to make a living too .so they understand .

          • Bruce says:


            Missed seeing you last Saturday night at Swiss Deli, they had another wine tasting.
            I would like to see you and catch up. If your at Adgao at 5am, I do not think I will see you. We go after Elena is done at Sunday Mass and we arrive about 8:30am. I enjoy all the friends I have made there. One lady is constantly trying to teach me Bisaya, but she talks too fast for me to follow her.

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