Metro Manila is one of the most congested cities in the world and one with the most vehicles. With most of the population concentrated in one general location and business centers concentrated on just a few hubs, traffic can be unbearable during the morning and afternoon rush hours. The government is trying to find ways to fix the problem, but the results won’t be seen for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, you can take your own measures to avoid the rush hour or keep your time on the wheel to a minimum.
Change Your Schedule
New York City is infamous for its traffic problems – but Metro Manila traffic makes it pale in comparison. New York has around 1,800 cars per square kilometer, while Manila has almost thrice that amount. With over 4,500 cars per square kilometer, it is clear why Metro Manila is a highly congested area. Fortunately, these cars run at a schedule. Unfortunately, you probably share that schedule.
Here’s a viable solution: talk to your employer and ask if they can adjust your work schedule by one or two hours. A few companies have already changed their payroll schedules to land on the 5th and the 20th – shifting schedules by an hour or so might not be a big issue. Changing your work schedule by a mere hour will allow you to get to the office faster and leave before the afternoon rush. Talk to your coworkers and see if you can collectively convince management.
While wasting gas is certainly a problem, a bigger toll on you is the time you spend on the road. You could have spent those hours of driving to and from work for rest or leisure. Stress can build up during those long trips, leaving you tired and with less time to relax once you get home.
Cutting the length of your drive is one way to get out of rush-hour traffic. But if you can buy or rent a place near your work, you can cut your gas expenses and make more time for yourself. Houses, apartments, and condo buildings in Ortigas are extremely well-placed, giving you access to Pasig, Makati, Taguig, and the majority of Quezon City with just a short drive. If you’re not planning to switch jobs soon (and your job security is solid), buying or renting a house a few minutes away from your office is a good idea.
Just Wait it Out
Starbucks and other similar establishments are great spots to wait out the rush hour over a cup of coffee or full-on dinner. Strengthen your connections with your coworkers or reconnect with old friends. An hour of waiting can get tedious, so try to use it for something productive or enjoyable. A cup of coffee at Starbucks may be pricey, but it beats stressing yourself and wasting an hour or two behind the wheel for a supposed 15-minute drive home.
Unless the government reduces the number of cars on the road, there seems to be no end in sight to the Metro’s rush-hour traffic. But you can always plan your escape: try to negotiate about your work hours, move homes, or make yourself busy with other activities as you wait out the rush.