Carpooling in Manila: The Advantages and Disadvantages
With the never-ending traffic jams around the Metro and the continuous oil price hikes, owning and driving a car to work can be a pain in the neck. The Metro Manila carmaggedon is especially at its worst during rush hours, rainy Monday mornings, and crazy payday Fridays, but there are ways to entertain you (and alleviate your stress) while you’re stuck in standstill traffic (Read: 7 Songs to Listen to While You’re Stuck in Traffic).
Anyway, if you’re a commuter who’s tired of taking public transportation, then carpooling is something that you can count as an alternative to your usual commute. But before you join a carpool group, make sure that you consider the advantages of disadvantages first.
- You can reduce your car-related expenses – When you leave your car at home to carpool with others, it’s easier to save a few pesos on fuel and fees on toll (if you’re coming from the North or South).
- You can relax – Carpooling is definitely a comfortable alternative to the jampacked MRT/LRT where you can’t even take a nap unless you score a seat. When you join a carpool group, you can relax and prepare for the day without *literally* rubbing elbows with your fellow passengers.
- You can help in minimizing the cars on the road – Since you’re going to be a passenger in someone else’s car, you’re helping minimize the number of cars on the road. Did you know that there are 367,728 (average) vehicles that traverse EDSA every day? This figure includes private cars, motorcycles, taxis, buses, trucks, and utility vehicles.
- You can build new friendships and professional connections – When you start joining a carpool group, you meet new people whom you can build professional connections with. Usually, carpoolers share something in common like their place of work, making it easier for them to become acquainted with each other.
- You are responsible for your safety – Like when you’re taking public transportation, you have to keep an eye on your valuables even if you’re in a private car. Unless you’ve established a professional relationship, your fellow carpool passengers are still strangers, so it’s best to hold on to your bag while on your way to work or your destination.
- You must be prepared to adjust your schedule – Because you have fellow passengers (and the driver, too) to think of, it’s a must for you to not be late in your meeting place. Even if you’re a little early, you have to wait for the car to arrive before you can actually leave. When you carpool, you can’t do side trips along the way because everyone departs and arrives at your meeting place at the same time.
- Your trip may be longer than your usual commute – Let’s face it, getting in line to take the trains requires patience, but MRT can get you from Quezon City to Makati in 30 minutes or less. In carpooling, there’s a possibility for you to be late for work since you have to wait for others to arrive, and there will be stops for picking up and dropping off your fellow passengers.
- You don’t have privacy – You have to lower your voice when talking on the phone because some of your fellow passengers may be taking a nap. Getting some quiet time while on your way home may be a challenge unless you plug in your earphones and just listen to music until you depart the car.
While a better option for transportation, carpooling has its pros and cons. It’s better to weigh in its benefits and downsides first before deciding whether carpooling is for you.
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