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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Manila Getting Around
Getting Around Manila - TravelPuppy.com
Public Transport

Manila’s public transport system is managed by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), EDSA corner of Orense Street, Guadalupe Makati (telephone: (02) 882 4150/77; e-mail: info@mmda.gov.ph). There is no centralised transport pass or ticket schemes. The public transport situation is more like a free-for-all.

The elevated Mass Rail Transit (MRT) or Metrorail, is under construction and has two lines at present. The Light Rail Transit (LRT), finished in 1985, runs from Baclaran to Monumento from 4.30 am to 10.45 pm, along Taft Avenue in the south and Rizal Avenue in the north, covering 16 stations. The MRT3 line, or Metrostar operates from 6.00 am to 9.30 pm between from EDSA/Taft Avenue in the south and the North station. The LRT uses magnetic-strip swipe cards for tickets that can be purchased at ticket booths in each station. The fare is P12. There is a reduced fare of P3 when boarding the Baclaran bound trains at Quirino station or later, or Monumento-bound trains at Tayuman station or later. LRT tickets are single tickets for single journeys and only valid on the date of purchase. Stored value tickets sold for P120 can be used for numerous journeys, relying on the value stored and are valid for 6 months from the date of purchase. During peak hours, pickpockets are active.

There are a number of privately-owned bus operators that service Manila but they do not provide standard bus passes. Main companies include DMTC (telephone: (02) 373 2981) and JD Transit (telephone: (02) 911 0161). Local buses use the main roads, such as the EDSA, but are not permitted into most streets in Manila's centre. The bus fares range from P4 to P15, depending on distance and if buses are air-conditioned. Tickets can be purchased at kiosks, stations and some shops. Buses operate daily from 5.00 am until 11.30 pm.

Taxis

Taxis accommodate everywhere from seven to ten people and can be caught anywhere throughout the city. It is advisable to make sure the taxi meters are on to avoid being over-charged. A couple of the better known and reputable companies are EMP, white taxis with yellow stripes; and R&E, yellow taxis with green stripes. Starting rate is P25 and P2 for every kilometre. Avis Taxi (telephone: (02) 532 5758 or 844 4884) is a trustworthy radio-cab company and P35 is added to the meter rate as a pick-up fee. Tipping is at your discretion.

Jeepneys

They are everywhere in the city and available 24 hours a day. These brightly coloured jeeps are decorated with tassels, decorative horns and mirrors. They are chaotic, garish, exuberant and totally insecure. However, a ride on one is a must and an educational experience. The inexpensive jeepneys transport about one-third of the city’s commuters. You can flag these vehicles anywhere and the destination is shown either in the window or on the side of the vehicle. The cost can be between P4 and P10.

Limousines

Limousines can be hired from all the major hotels. Avis offers a limousine service with information at the airport (telephone: (02) 832 2088). The cost for a limousine with driver is usually P2,500 per day and P12,500 per month for those who want to employ a driver on a regular basis.

Driving in Manila

Driving conditions are considered disreputable with heavy traffic jams and haze. The Filipino drivers are aggressive and ignore all traffic official rules, particularly the lane discipline, one-way streets and giving ways to others. Horn honking is used all the time.

There are car parks at large shopping centres and the main business and financial areas, such as Makati and Ortigas, but it is recommended you leave your car at the hotel as parking is just as chaotic as driving. A congestion programme controlling cars from driving into Manila to reduce pollution is in effect between 7.00 am to 7.00 pm. Number plates ending in 1 or 2 on Mondays, 3 or 4 on Tuesdays and so on, with 9 or 0 banned on Fridays.

Tourists are not advised to drive in the capital as there is a high risk of accident. Jeepneys provide a cheaper and more colourful way of travelling around.

Car Hire

The most reliable are Avis (telephone: (02) 742 2871), Budget (telephone: (02) 816 6682) and Hertz (telephone: (02) 897 5151). Minimum age is 25 years for these major chains. Many local operators do not demand this. An international driving licence is the only requirement. Ask agencies to furnish photocopies of the car registration papers and tax receipts.

Rates vary though are typically P2,500 per day for an air-conditioned vehicle from the international chains. Local companies, such as JB Rent-A-Car (telephone: (02) 526 6288) or KEI Transport (telephone: (02) 524 6834), provide similar cars for P1,200-1,300 per day. Cash payments require deposits and is usually 150% of the estimated hire fee.

Bicycle and Scooter Hire

There are bicycles and scooters for rent, but their use is not recommended owing to a high risk of accident.