You can be jealous a little: Unlike you, I don’t have to make the daily commute to work since I can be in the office in five minutes—on foot—even if I sashay down the gravelly 150-m path from home à la Kendall or Gigi in my stilettos.
I lived in Pasig years ago when I started working, and every day I had to allot two hours for the trip from home to the Inquirer office in Makati. That meant I had to get up at least three hours earlier to prepare for work. But I was 20, I had a lot of time in the world and plenty of energy, so it didn’t matter so much.
Whenever I read rants online about the daily monstrous traffic others have to go through to get to work and back, I let out a sigh of relief: by comparison, the neighbors’ occasional videoke singing in my low-rent hood is certainly less annoying (and arguably less deadly) than being stuck in unmoving traffic for three hours almost every day!
Metro traffic is the one great equalizer of urban living. The only difference surely is the level of comfort you’re cocooned in while stuck in a gridlock. Otherwise, we all experience this daily blight—even I who live a stone’s throw from work, since I still have to get to other places.
I envy countries where getting to places on foot is practicable. Attempting that in most of Metro Manila, however, could result in only two things: either you get to your destination with the indignity of reeking of sun and sweat, or you get run over by some reckless driver because there just aren’t safe pathways for pedestrians.
An Uber-commissioned report says carpooling (or “ride-share”) during the peak hours could reduce metro traffic by 88 percent, or about a million cars off the streets. Quite simple and, in principle, a pretty good idea.
In reality, however, how many private car owners would really be so magnanimous to take one for the team and give up the comfort and safety of their private spaces, for the good of the many?
We’re all in this together. Let’s think about that the next time we complain about the traffic.