When Dan Brown described Manila as the “gates of hell” in one of his novels, he must have been writing that book while on EDSA. Traffic in Manila currently ranks as one of the worst problems that people encounter in and around the metropolis. It is especially excruciating for those who live in the provinces near Manila and whose workplaces are in the metro.
The everyday heavy traffic Manila experiences takes a toll on the time, health, and well-being of people, even those whose work or school is just one to two rides away. That toll doubles or triples during the rainy season, and doubles up some more for those whose residences are in Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, or Bulacan.
Personal costs of traffic in Manila
Assuming that the cost of commuting through traffic in Manila involves only the amount spent on fare, a train ride, through MRT or LRT or (gulp) PNR, costs ₱12-₱30 per way, while a bus ride is worth ₱12-₱50. Other costs include ₱25-₱60 per van ride, ₱10-₱25 per tricycle ride, ₱7-₱25 per jeep ride. As for other options, like driving your own car into traffic in Manila, or taking the premium buses, taxis, and Uber/GrabCar options, costs easily rack up to a hundred pesos or more.
Travel travails of some of your workmates
We all have that workmate from Bulacan or Cavite, someone who is warrior-like in his everyday commute through traffic in Manila. The one from Bocaue, Bulacan, spends ₱10 on a tricycle ride out of her subdivision, then rides the jeep to Valenzuela for ₱20, and takes a ₱25 bus ride to Trinoma, where he’ll ride the MRT to Ayala, where she works, for ₱24.
One friend from Imus, Cavite, braves the everyday traffic Manila offers, not to mention the traffic in his increasingly congesting hometown. He takes a ₱12 tricycle ride to the highway, where he rides the bus to EDSA Taft for ₱30. An MRT ride to Quezon Avenue for ₱24 and an additional jeep ride to UP for ₱8 complete his one-way, three-hour travel to school.
(And let us guess, these people are almost always earlier than you at work/school.)
Other costs of traffic in Manila
Looking closely, the Bulakenyo and the Caviteno each spend up to ₱160 every day in transit. Transportation costs for those who live in faraway places easily reach a hundred pesos a day, even if they take the cheapest ride options through traffic in Manila. And even those who live in Metro Manila are not exempted from these hardships, like the “long-distance relationship” challenges of a guy who lives in Fairview and his girlfriend who lives in Alabang.
Aside from fare, the costs of commuting and traffic in Manila also involve time. Our commute warriors from Bulacan and Cavite spend an average of four to five hours in transit every day. That’s time that could have been spent on activities more worthwhile than sitting in a bus. Activities like, say, writing a novel better than Dan Brown’s.
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