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How to financially outsmart heavy Metro Manila Traffic

Updated on January 13, 2016
Choosing the right phone application can help you get ahead of Metro Manila traffic.
Choosing the right phone application can help you get ahead of Metro Manila traffic. | Source

Being stuck in traffic costs us money

According to a study conducted by conducted by Japan International Cooperation Agency, heavy traffic costs Metro Manila 2.4 Billion pesos today and will rise up to 6 Billion if left unsolved.

Because of heavy traffic and the inefficiency of public transport,commuters have to increase their transportation allowance to up to 2 times more. Right now, while the government is taking small steps on improving the situation, we are left to our own devices to "find ways" on how to "tolerate" heavy traffic until every project is finished. This post will lay out tips you can use as a commuter or a car owner to save up on money

1. Download traffic monitoring apps

Real-time traffic monitoring apps, like Waze, are very useful if you drive or if you commute. In an instant, you can choose to take an alternate route if traffic gets bumber to bumper while you are on the road thus saving you time and money. If you are a commuter, you can check on Waze on your way to your next trasfer so you will know which FX / jeep to take, or if you will finally succumb to risking it all and take the MRT. Commuters can also use this app to help taxi and Uber drivers. You can suggest which shortcuts to take, which can save you both out of traffic and will mean a cheaper bill for you.

One surprising use of these apps is monitoring your loved ones. I know many couples argue about how time is wasted waiting and many parents do not believe their kids when they say they were caught up in traffic. But if the one waiting knows the traffic situation, s/he will most likely understand. For their peace of mind, I have tried and tested Glympse for this purpose.

Keep your eyes on the road though. Have a car mount installed.

2. Request for a new schedule at work

This suggestion will need the cooperation of your manager and solid data. A 30-minute commute now has doubled into an hour and more and more employees are now getting late. Every minute late has a corresponding deduction from your payslip.If majority of your office mates who are coming from the same direction are running late, then perhaps you can ask your manager to adjust your schedule for just an hour.

Words of caution: (1) Ask for this adjustment in private, and keep mum if s/he agrees. You do not want to be the precedent and get blamed if the scheduling of your whole department gets off course. (2) to have your schedule adjusted is a privilege. Once approved, you will have no right to be late. Not even once.

3. Turn off your car's engine

10 minutes of idling will consume approximately 1/3 of a liter of gas. In a minute, you waste about 1 peso. They say that a car consumes more gas on start up. Not true. The extra fuel use is only when the car is cold. With a warmed up engine - just a few minutes of running time or a mile distance - the start of the engine doesn't involve any choke. Source here in a professionals forum.

The extra bit of fuel to start a modern car is really small. European cars have improved this start/stop system. American cars however are just catching up. For PUVs using old motors, this is not recommended.

If you are a commuter and you are stalled in traffic for 30 minutes, there is a high probability that you will walk faster before the jam is unstuck so you may politely ask the driver to refund the remaining peso for your fare (up until where you will go down) and walk from there.

4. Bring food with you

I believe road rage is caused by one main problem : hunger. During heavy traffic, you know your anger will get you nowhere. Your favorite snack will definitely calm you down. The feeling of security - knowing that you have all you need in you home on wheels is a gem in a middle of the riot that is Metro Manila traffic. This will cut the cost for drive thru as well.

Aside from food, I suggest you prepare a bag or a clear plastic box and stuff the following. If you are a commuter, buy and store mini/more portable versions of the items below:

- wet and dry tissue (for spills and hygiene)

- extra collared shirt (will look okay with rubber shoes, heels, sandals, leather shoes, long enough to get you home)

- extra underwear

- an (unopened bottle) of water. Storing water for a long time in a car will change its taste. If you're planning to refill, do it once every 3 days

- a roll or pack of plastic bag. Plastic has a multitude of uses - storage most importantly for trash and liquids you cannot contain in the middle of the road *you know what I mean*

- food. non perishables of course. note that the temperature inside the car can spoil food really fast so choose your nibbles carefully. Biscuits / crackers are the best options.

- fully charged powerbank (for the commuter)

- flats / tsinelas (for the commuter) Imagine having to walk EDSA in high heels...fccccccckkkkk!

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