Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Traffic and Transportation in the Philippines

This post is just to give a brief description of transportation here which in all respects is very different than the United States, even in the larger cities. 


The pictures showing what traffic in the Philippines looks like doesn’t do the experience justice! Vehicles have no problem doing u-turns in the middle of the highway in order to head in the opposite direction. Motorcycles weave in and out of traffic; in both the traveling lane and the oncoming traffic line! In order for people to cross the street you pray, look for an opening, put your hand up to signal the oncoming traffic to slow down, and hope that they let you pass!
Videos of Philippine traffic: This is only one video. I don't like any others I found on the internet so I will make my own and post it later.

By taxi[i]
Taxis are generally available within the major cities but are usually not used for travel across the various provinces and regions. Most taxis have the flag down rate of ₱40 with each 300 meters cost ₱3.50 while Yellow cab taxis are more expensive with a flag down rate of ₱70 with each 300 meters cost ₱4.00.
Taxis drivers will try to take advantage of you, but I am blessed to always have Janlie with me because she knows if they are trying to do so.
I don’t take taxis very much because it is much cheaper to take a jeepney. Also, I’m still not confident enough to know if I’m getting on the right jeepney and where exactly to tell them to stop.
By bus
Busses are used for longer trips. The only experience that I’ve had with busses is traveling from Panabo back to Davao, and also seeing them going down the highway. There is no maximum occupant capacity for busses. You will see people standing in the aisles, standing in the doors, and sitting in each others laps.
I’m not sure how they calculate the rates but usually it’s between ₱50 and ₱60 or one dollar and some change for two people traveling 33km or 20 miles.
By jeepney, pedicab, motorcycle, and tricycle[ii]

Jeepneys are the most known transportation to all Filipinos. They are the most affordable transport in the Philippines. Costing about ₱8 per 4 km and additional ₱1 per km, they are by far the most affordable way to get around most major urban areas.. They stop if you wave at them. The jeepney is remnants of the Jeep used by the American troops during World War II, the innovative Filipinos modified the jeep (by lengthening the body and adding horizontal seats) to seat as many as 20 people (10 per side). Within Manila, you will find multiple Jeepneys per route, for added convenience. In the provinces, Jeepneys also connect towns and cities. For longer distances, however, buses are more comfortable.

In the Philippines, a "tricycle" is a public (for-hire) vehicle consisting of a motorcycle and an attached passenger sidecar, and should not be confused with an unmotorized three-wheeled pedicab.[iii] These are fun to ride in! No sarcasm included. Most foreigners wouldn’t like them, but I do. You will see all different designs. When it rains you will see tarps draped over the front or even umbrellas over the top and out the front of the passenger cab.

Also worthy of mention are the pedicabs or in other words an unmotorized three-wheeled vehicle with a passenger cab that has a bicycle attached rather than a motorcycle; however, this may not be to the liking of most foreigners, as these are cramped and quite open to traffic. These means of transport are usually used for very short distances.

You will also see people using motorcycles. These are what we might call skooters in the US.

More images of pedicabs: 

More images of jeepneys: 

More images of tricycles: 

[i] http://wikitravel.org/en/Philippines#b
[ii] http://wikitravel.org/en/Philippines#b
[iii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tricycle

1 comment:

  1. I'm so excited to be your first follower! I LOVE the jeepneys, how cool is that?? Looking forward to more! (Somehow I have two accounts that I can follow from - I'm posting this comment from one account but following with the other... go figure!)