Metro Manila · Getting Around (Traffic, Public Transport and more)
With its confusing traffic system and crazy driving culture, getting around in the Megacity Manila can be quite an adventure. The good news is that you will hardly get lost anywhere without the chance to use public transport.
Streets are full of so-called "public utility vehicles" for any distance: tricycles and pedicabs for short rides within the neigborhood, cabs and trains to get from one city to the other within the Megacity, and buses and vans that bring you to the outskirts and far-off provinces. Last not least there is the jeepney, the most popular means of transportation and a national symbol of the Philippines. Here is an overview of all these options and of everything you need to know about traffic in Manila.
For detailed instructions on how to get to specific locations within Metro Manila by public transport, you can also visit ph-commute.com.
Dealing with the heavy traffic is a major challenge for Megacitizens in Manila. The metropolitan authorities try to reduce traffic through a number coding scheme. Effects of the coding scheme are cancelled out though because of the growing number of car owners in the metro. Here is what you should know about the traffic situation in the National Capital Region, why it is so bad and what else the authorities are doing about it.
If you are going to make Manila your home for a couple of years or so, you should consider getting your own car. Here is all you need to know: special traffic rules, where to buy or rent a car, and how to find a good driver.
For the newcomer, a Megacity is always overwhelming in many different aspects. But one of the first things that comes to mind is always: How will I ever find my way around in Metro Manila, with its 17 cities, dozens of shopping, entertainment, and business districts, gated communities, and millions of citizens? The good news is: there are actually only a handful of main arterial roads connecting the different cities and centers. Knowing them helps to get around in the city.
A business district is always busy, especially during the rush hours roughly 7 am - 10 am and 4.30 pm to 8 pm. Except avoiding to drive during those times, there are some more details gathered by our Megacities team that might help you to stay sane when driving in Makati.
For Megacitizens, taxis are the main means of public transportation in Manila. You can see them at every corner of the city at every time of the day. Only problem: the more you need a cab, the less likely you will find one! During rush hour or when it is raining cats and dogs it will be difficult to get hold of a taxi.
To get around in Manila and neighboring provinces, you also have the option to hire a car for yourself or your driver. The minimum age for car hire in Manila is between 21 and 25 years old, depending on the rental company. Foreigners must show passport ID and a valid national driver’s licence or International Driving Permit.
Buses are the true kings of the road in Metro Manila. They ply the major roads as well as the highways. They have seating for 50 to 60 people but in full capacity, which is standard during rush hour, they can accommodate 100 people. Here is all you should know about riding the bus in and around the Megacity.
Jeepneys are a uniquely Filipino means of public transportation. They are the most inexpensive mode of transport in Metro Manila as well as in the provinces. Individually designed with colorful images and patterns, the jeepney has become an icon of Pinoy culture.
The FX is a cross between the sarao/jeepney and a cab. Riding on one is like carpooling with a bunch of strangers. When it was introduced to Manila's streets, those who drove an FX or a car with fixed tariff rates utilised the Tamaraw FX, from which this mode of transportation derived its name.
Trains are the fastest but certainly not the most convenient way to travel long distances in the Megacity. There are five railway lines in Metro Manila: PNR Southrail and Northrail, LRT 1 and 2, and MRT 3.
As a means of public transportation, tricycles are almost as common in the Philippines as Jeepneys. Tricycle rides are bumpy, loud and smelly but they are often the fastest and most convenient way to get around.
Pretty similar to the tricycle except that it runs solely on muscle power, a pedicab is one of the cheapest modes of transport in the metro, usually fitting one or two passengers. It can take you anywhere within an assigned area, such as a barangay (neighborhood) or village.
Tired of the daily traffic in the Metro? Why not carpool? Now you can do this through an app and all we can say is, it's wunderful!
If you have enough of endless taxi lines, old vehicles, and choosy drivers, you should try out Uber. The company connects passengers with private drivers via its mobile app - easy, safely, and quickly.
Slowly but steady Makati is becoming a bit more environmental-friendly. Around the same time as a city-wide ban on plastic-bags was implemented in 2013, the first low-emission hybrid buses have entered the streets. The Green Frog Hybrid Bus runs simultaneously on a diesel and an electric engine. This leads to less noise and 80 percent less exhaust emission, according to the operating company. Good news for the ever polluted Megacity Metro Manila.
With the streets and trains of the Megacity being more congested then ever, Manila is resorting to a means of transportation that had been suspended several years ago: the Pasig River Ferry.
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is the country’s major airport. It serves as the hub for the Philippines’ flag carriers. Also known as the Manila International Airport, NAIA is the point of entry for most international visitors of the Philippines as well as returning Overseas Filipino Workers from all continents.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) East Asia 2014 takes place in Manila from Wednesday to Friday, May 21 to 23. Several roads will temporarily be closed. The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) urges motorists to avoid the areas around the WEF venues.