Philippines – Manila Carmageddon

Heavy traffic is a major dilemma most metropolitan citizens deal with almost every day. Even though traffic in general is a part of the urban life, some cities have it worse. In Metro Manila, the metropolitan city of the Philippines, the traffic situation is definitely something that can make you scratch your head at the least or push you to the limit of your patience at the worst. A hassle free, stress free travel from home to your workplace is almost but a dream, especially if you’re a commuter and working normal office hours.

For young professionals and expatriates who live in the central business districts, the normal travel time within the city is 15 minute tops, on free roads. But on rush hours, usually at 6 am to 10 am and 5 pm to 8 pm, travel time can be 30 to 60 minutes at least and can take up to two hours if the roads are really congested. This only gets worse on rainy season. With inaccessible and flooded roads, travel time rises up to almost double of what it normally is with the usual traffic.

For most of the commuters, the blame is on the government. Poor planning, not enough infrastructures and train stations. Critics say it’s the fast growing economy, and the infrastructures and high ways cannot keep with it. The middle class is growing; more people can afford to buy their own cars now. But the manila roads were not built to handle the big amount of vehicles that we have now, thus the congestion. Some say it’s the trains and that maybe if it’s reliable enough to be used as a daily commute, professionals who own cars can use it on their everyday commute and help lessen the amount of vehicle on the roads on critical hours.

The government is not sitting idle with this problem. Just this year, the government ordered new train cars that could hopefully be a big help to commuters. Starting this month, extended train lines will be tested on a train line. The newly inaugurated president also showed interests on building more train lines across the Philippines. And just recently, Chinese diplomats presented the president an offer: they will build a railway from Manila to Clark, Pampanga within two years.

All of these are just plans and we don’t know yet what will happen in the next few years. Manila already has one of the worst traffics in the world. We are hopeful that this will be solved as soon as possible. A stress free commute will make living in Manila so much nicer than it already is.