Top 3 Reasons That Causes Traffic in Metro Manila | Tagalog Travels

Travel / Friday, February 8th, 2019

Traffic in Metro Manila

If you are living or working inside Metro Manila, you're probably used to the long hours of waiting and being stuck in traffic everyday. With an average of an hour to two hours daily traffic (one-way) depending on your daily route. It is easy to say that we are one of the top cities (if not the top city) in Asia that has the most terrible traffic on a daily basis.

There are a lot of factors you can take into account as why we experience this soul-killing traffic almost everyday. There's the infrastructure problem that is very low in quality compare to other countries. Very poor urban planning and lack of mobility due to crowded roads. The railway system is not efficient. There's not enough public transportation for all commuters etc. all of these add up. But it would take years and a lot of money to address these problems.

However, there are also reasons that causes traffic that we can control. It might not happen overnight and it would be difficult to say that it would fix the traffic problem right away. But as a driver and also a long time commuter - who lives and works in Metro Manila. We can share our experiences and what we think that might at least reduce the traffic. So here’s our top list:

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photo by geri cleveland from

Our top 3 reason that causes traffic in Metro Manila

1. Arrogant PUV / PUJ / PUB drivers

Let us share a true story: We took a jeepney ride from Magallanes going to Mall of Asia. Approximately, it is about 15-30 minutes travel time, not too bad but it could be worse during rush hours. Anyhow, we hopped in and like almost all jeepney drivers, our driver waited until the jeepney gets full. We don't mind waiting and we definitely do not mind if the driver wanted to get the maximum number of passengers inside, but not if it is obvious that it is not possible.

At the time there's probably a couple or three people who weighs more than the average person inside the jeepney. Anyone can tell there's no more room for another person, but our driver insists that one more person SHOULD fit in. So we waited and took longer than expected, keep in mind we are not in a terminal. Meaning, we are in the main road causing traffic and holding up other vehicles behind us.

The intensity rose as one passenger told the driver "Manong, hindi na po kasya. Gusto niyo bang kandungin namin?" That made the driver ticked, and he stepped on the gas pedal very hard. We all felt the tension and it was very alarming because he was already driving recklessly. The way he drove also affected other motorists along the road. As he cuts and changes lane from one car to another. To put it in a drivers perspective, this way of driving is good for him because he gets through quickly. But it causes traffic behind him. Few moments later, he drove really fast and then hits on the break that made everyone of us very uncomfortable.

This story doesn't mean all public vehicles drivers are arrogant. But as a long time commuter we can say most of them are.

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photo by Tina HB @hartmati1403 from Instagram

2. Pedestrians and Commuters

If you are a driver, it's a bummer when pedestrians are still crossing the road even if it's a red light for them and it's a go go for you. We're sure every driver can relate to that. There's nothing more annoying than a pedestrian walking very slow or their faces are literally on their phones.

We have no problem on giving way to pedestrians, but you people should be considerate too. If you see that it's a red light for you, please do not try to rush and still cross the road or cross the road and not pay attention to the vehicles approaching. First and foremost it is for your safety. Second, cars do not just stop in one step on the breaks, it has to decelerate. Otherwise, a full break at worse might cause an accident. But most of the time it causes more traffic as approaching vehicles from behind would also be forced to stop.

For the commuters, you need to be considerate when you are about to get to your stop. Tell the driver ahead of time that your stop is few meters away so they won't have to force a quick stop. As mentioned a sudden stop will cause inconvenience to vehicles behind or worse an accident.

Another thing that is bothersome is when people are too lazy to walk extra steps from their stop. We all have seen this, when a passenger gets off the jeepney/bus and then few feet later you'll hear another passenger saying "para po". Crazy! right? There might be a lot of you who are guilty of this and you should stop doing it. Walking is good for you, unless you have an injury or disability few steps won't get you tired. Just walk!

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photo by Denniz Futalan from pexels

3. Driver's License

Another reason for the terrible traffic in Metro Manila is the car population. Well obviously people can afford to buy a car, but that's not the problem. The issue is almost everybody can get a driver's license without even having the right skill to drive a car. Okay, let's stop right here and really think about that for a second. Seriously! How ridiculous is it that these drivers can't drive well? It's even crazier to think that people (more specifically "the authorities") just accept it and let it happen.

Every day we see accidents left and right more often. From one car crashing another car, to truck drivers wrecking other vehicles or properties. Even motorcycle drivers getting seriously injured or worse, died due to irresponsible driving.

We're not in the position to say who should or who shouldn't get a driver's licence but it's fair to say that people should learn and acquire a very good driving skill first before getting a license. There's a process of being a student driver where you'll get a student license. During that process student drivers should really be serious about learning how to drive well. Driving is not just a privilege for everyone, it is a skill that drivers need to hone and master.

Give this a deep thought and wrap this around your heads. When you are driving you are steering a giant metal and if you are not skillful enough, you can badly hurt someone or worse could kill someone. So if you can't drive very well, you shouldn't drive at all.

Last thought: Maybe it would be best if everybody who get's a traffic violation should be required to attend a seminar and get's his license suspended for a certain period of time. People wouldn't really learn from their mistakes by just paying a certain amount of penalty fee.

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Additional: (not in our top list but some parts of Metro Manila still get affected by this)

Toll Gates

It is fair to say that the traffic would run smoothly if you don’t have to grab your wallet or get some cash in your pocket / bag to pay the toll fee.

We know there are people who can prepare an exact toll fee before they leave their houses but let’s be honest, that’s not the case all the time. There are also people who are just visiting or passing by from different cities or provinces who are not very familiar with toll fees or the toll gates it self. You can sense some of them wonders which gate they should pass through and they might take a little longer at the ticket booths. As a result, this will hold up the line and causes unnecessary traffic.

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In other countries, they would require motorists to buy a pre-paid card/pass and a certain amount will be deducted from their account every time they pass through a toll gate. Actually, we also have it here in the Philippines (RFID / ETC / Easy trip) but it is not mandatory.

Based on our experience in this daily traffic, it only make sense that implementing electronic toll collection or pre-paid passes to all vehicles would help us reduce the heavy traffic. However, it should be an online purchase.

We are now in a golden age of the Internet, you can buy/order almost everything through an App or a secured website. It's not that difficult to do! Jollibee has an electronic ordering system for crying out loud! As of now motorists still have to purchase or reload their pre-paid passes at the ticket booths or beside the expressways. This still results traffic when there's a lot of people purchasing or reloading their passes.

Their you have it folks. There are other reasons that causes traffic but this is our top list. We hope you learned something, at the end of the day we are all responsible for this. So let's help each other and spread awareness.