Authored by Diane Wuthrich (Contributor)
Getting around with transportation in Manila requires patience, to say the very least.
The Philippines’ capital is notorious for its traffic and congestion, and is on par with other cities infamous for traffic, such as, Bangkok, Jakarta, and Los Angeles. The public transportation infrastructure leaves much to be desired, although there are sufficient options for getting around Manila safely and efficiently.
Here is everything you need to know about safe transportation in Manila.
Safe transportation in Manila, Philippines
Avoid Rush Hour – At All Costs!
Commuting during rush hours in Manila is never a good idea. From 7am to 10pm, and 6pm to 8pm on weekdays, Manila’s traffic is at its absolute worst. It can easily take you an hour just to get to a destination that’s less than 10km away, especially if the route requires passing through a major thoroughfare such as EDSA and Makati’s central business district. Plan your trip so that you have flexibility getting around before and after the rush hours – especially if you have a flight to catch.
Flooding and Rain
In Manila, locals know very well that the slightest bit of rain can cause the cars on the road to multiply faster than the Gremlins. It’s not uncommon for vehicles to reach a standstill, and for major thoroughfares to become a parking lot when it’s raining. Even if citizens have adapted to this, it can be extremely frustrating for tourists especially if you don’t have the luxury of time.
No one wants to sit through hours of traffic. Plus, heavy rains will mean that the streets will be inches high in floodwater. So if you’re travelling and it rains, keep in mind that it may not be a good idea to hit the road. The worst possible combination? Rains during rush hour. You’ve been warned.
Grab, is your Best Friend
The Grab app is more popular and reliable than Uber in Manila. The app is free to download and offers several options for getting around the metro: GrabCar (private car and driver, like a taxi but safer and better-quality cars), GrabShare (sharing your ride with other passengers going the same route), GrabTaxi (taxi car service), GrabCar (a 6-seater), and GrabCar Premium (SUV). Grab offers trustworthy and inexpensive transportation services that are generally always comfortable, and the drivers are friendly!
Travel by Train
Manila’s train system is far from anything you’ve experienced in a first-world city. You’ll need to brace yourself; the railway transit systems can be brutal especially if you travel during rush hour. However, they do provide an affordable and quick way of skipping the traffic to get to certain points around Manila.
The MRT (Metro Railway Transit) travels around key areas in Manila: Makati, Pasay, San Juan, Mandaluyong, and Quezon City. On the other hand, the LRT (Light Railway Transit) passes through 4 areas: Manila, Pasay, Caloocan, and Quezon City.
Buses and Jeepneys
I personally think that if you’re after comfort and safety, buses and jeepneys should be your absolute last resort. If you’re courageous enough though, they’re an efficient transportation in taking you from one point to another. Do beware of pick pocketers and other modus operandi, especially in crammed jeepneys during rush hour.
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