Manila Traffic – And You Thought L.A. Was Bad?

LA-traffic
The regular morning commute on the southbound I-110 in beautiful L.A.

Once again your alarm clock chides your regular Monday morning wake up call. Time to hit the shower and get to your lovely 9-to-5 workplace. Too bad your day has to start at roughly 5am. And the worst of it. You’re not even in Los Angeles.

You’re in Manila!

Not long ago, in the mid 70’s, Manila was a really nice place to be. You could walk the streets in relative safety. Day or night. You could catch a cab to a specific destination, arriving in a reasonable amount of time. You could even take a spin on the city’s newest mode of transport. The MRT/LRT system. And if you had a car of your own. You could enjoy a nearly stress-free drive in and around the once great metropolis.

Sadly, those days are long gone.

Since the mid-1990’s the streets of Manila have eroded into a transportation nightmare. A nightmare populated by a sea of half-empty Jeepneys, dilapidated buses, rickety taxis and in some areas, the ever-popular death-trap, known as the tricycle. And in almost all cases… Driven by some incompetent asshole who could care less for your safety.

And for those of you who just happen to be lucky — or unlucky — enough to own a vehicle, you can expect to be living in it, an average of 5 hours a day. Think of it! You spend 5 hours a day sitting in a steal box, trying to get to your 8 hour a day job. Including lunch and 2 breaks a day, that’s maybe 15 hours a day you’re away from home. Which means, if you’re lucky enough to get home by 8pm, you can have a quick bite to eat before you jump into bed to start the whole process over again in another 7 hours.

How did this happen?

It happened much in the same way everything else of relevant importance within the country has fallen apart. By ignoring the basic needs of the people, the political elite have chosen to spend more of their time — and your money — entertaining personal pet-projects and other pointless dribble designed to keep up their “saintly” appearances. All the while, feeding their personal egos.

The current administration, under President BS Aquino has probably done more — with his help — to ignore the ever-thickening traffic problems within metro Manila.

Within the past year alone, we have seen the following:

  • The MRT/LRT system fall apart as it descended into a quagmire of people being treated like sardines. Trains being dangerously over-packed with people, as they snake their way through the city. Recently the LRT station at EDSA/Taft was enlightened when one of their trains — still loaded with passengers — went crashing  through the rail-head, and onto the streets outside.
  • Local — and provincial — buses that are falling apart at the seams, and being driven by over-worked, under-paid and obviously under-qualified drivers. People climbing aboard, only to discover themselves falling off the Skyway because the driver fell asleep. Or crashing down a hill because of faulty brakes.
  • The government enacting some stupid guidelines regarding delivery trucks not being allowed to operate during specific hours of the day. This caused major issues for the Manila Port Authority, as its docks now became congested with still-loaded shipping crates. To the point where there were some vessels sitting in the harbor for months waiting to off-load. Meanwhile, the traffic remained a congested shit-box.

Plastic Bag Idiot
My patience is wearing thin Mr Aquino.

So what answers does the Autistic Coconut in Malacanan have for the people? Well, aside from never apologizing for any mishaps that may befall the people, he has asked that the people remain patient, as they are looking into these problems. Claiming the the welfare and safety of the people is of primary concern.

Yeah, right!

Recently Senator Ralph Recto has asked the Aquino administration how it intends to deal with the massive traffic problems in the midst of hosting next year’s APEC summit?

So why does it take something like that to get these political goofs into gear? Because when it comes to the Philippines and its people. Status and appearance are of the utmost importance. In fact, the 2015 budget actually has P4.6-billion allotted for a “crash Metro Manila makeover” to aid in resolving some of the traffic congestion.

Of course, it remains to be seen if the money will be used for a few paperclips, rubber-bands and a little glue for the classic, short term Filipino fix. Or will it go to something of lasting ability the people can benefit from, years after the APEC Summit is over and forgotten with.

Jacques Phillip

As an ExPat living in the Philippines. I have found it relatively fun and exciting to have been given the opportunity to live among such wonderful people.

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