A Commuters life
A Commuters life Manila Reviews
Pinas public transport Sep 07, 2008
I've been commuting all my life in Manila for practicality purposes and was inspired by my backpacker friends to share general tips on how to go about it if you intend to fly over here.
There is so much public transportation here, oh you may have the vehicle strikes from time to time but there's always a way to reach your destination, regardless of the time and weather, trust me.
You can take any of the following:
Buses - if you're taking the airconditioned ones, the fare would range from Php 12 as the cheapest up, depending on the distance. If you wanna risk taking the non airconditioned ones which is more prone to snatchers then the fare would range from Php8 as the cheapest up.
Expect though that if you take the buses around Manila that they're not too comfortable, little room for your legs, most likely uncomfortable seats and most of all, have race car drivers.
The buses for long travels that go to the provinces would be more comfortable, facilities wise, fare would range from Php 100 up, you can just ask around for the terminal of the destination you're headed to.
Keep your tickets as you have inspectors getting on the bus from time to time so better to be safe than come up with a crazy excuse why you don't have it.
For locals, you have discounts for Retirees and Students as long as you have your ID to present.
Cabs - are actually pretty cheap around Manila and most tourists/backpackers would prefer to just take this for comfort, though it wouldn't be very smart if you're going to a high traffic area or you'll really get a bit of a rip off. The meter would start at Php 40 but there are those who would ask you for a tip especially if they know you're not from here. Do be mindful of the meter, lock your doors, and check for the cab's license plate numbers usually painted inside the doors, we've had instances of not so good drivers, so better to be safe than sorry.
There are also those who would not use a meter but would have a fixed rate like those coming from hotels and the airport, and it would be usually difficult to haggle with them.
Definitely watch the meter as from friend's experiences there are those that would increase in amount pretty fast so keep your eyes on alert.
Also prepare yourself for those cab drivers who would choose not to take you in after you say where you're headed to especially if they're not taking the same route or the spot has heavy traffic. Yes, sadly, most of our cab drivers can afford to be picky.
FX - what some people would know as the shuttle. It got it's name from the old vehicle version named Tamaraw FX, and amusing enough regardless of the type of vehicle now, people would still call it as that. It would usually have signages, and fares would range Php15 up. This fits 10-16 people depending on the size of the vehicle of course. I'd say this is the most convenient mode of transportation for me, airconditioned and less prone to crime:-) You'd have the shuttle stops normally littered around busy areas such as malls and the central business districts.
Tricycle - these are your local motors that can fit 4-6 people. Literally has 3 wheels due to the attached passenger seat to your usual 2 wheeled motorcycle. They're usually located in the provinces and the alleys around the metro. The fares range from Php8 up. Some are color coded to identify the route but most are not. They're usually just anywhere that they're allowed to park(especially where I'm living at) and you just always have to ask if they're passing where you need to go. Some would also ask for a tip whether you're a local or not so better ask how much they're charging and try to bargain before you hop on.
Pedicabs - Your usual 2 wheeled bicyles that have passenger seats attached to it. Similar with the tricycle but uses the human power vs a motor! This is good for short distances and heavy flooding, heehaw, seriously! Am not sure about the fares but again just ask before you hop in. They're almost always just located around alleyways.
Trains - Fares range from Php13 up. You have 3 liners around Manila:
a. MRT - which runs from Pasay to SM North - this is the train line that passes through EDSA, one of the main highways, this comes real handy if you want to avoid the heavy traffic going to any of the malls in the entire strip. It has stops in the central business districts of Makati and Ortigas, and main areas such as EDSA Crossing and North Avenue. This is connected to the LRT 1 line and makes going to Manila coming from close to the EDSA area much easier.
b. LRT Line 1 - which runs from Baclaran to Monumento - this is the oldest line and expect that the trains would squeak a bit as they pass through the old rails. Good if you're in the Manila area like Malate since this passes through the main road of Taft Avenue.
c. LRT Line 2 - runs from Santolan to Recto - this is normally taken by the students since Recto is the University Belt.
There are train carts now that is alloted for disabled, women, children or people with children and elders, which has made my life easier. But if you're not in any of those categories or choose not to take that cart which is usually the one behind the driver, you have to walk a bit of a distance from the entrance and expect to be a bit jostled in the other carts, definitely not a very pleasant experience for some.
And of course the Jeepneys - the Filipino trademark, stainless steel vehicles colorfully designed, non airconditioned, would fit 16 or more people depending on how greedy the driver is. Fares start from Php10 up. They have signages but you would always just have to ask if it's passing to your stop, how much the fare is, since not all would have the posters inside that indicates the fare per kilometre, and to drop you off at your stop. Bottomline, they're not too tourist friendly. You can also expect that they are mostly race car drivers. You honestly wouldn't find this convenient in the warm weather but is definitely everywhere in the metro.
Just some general tips, before you take any vehicle, ASK: about the fare and the route. Always be careful of your belongings, especially if you're taking the non airconditioned vehicles for adventure. Most of the vehicles are designed for Asian size, that means, you're a little bit snug and close with the person next to you especially if you're riding it during the rush hour.
So with that in mind...happy commuting in Manila!!! a city that barely sleeps.
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