Decades ago, commuting around the metro was very much different. The usual 30-km travel that takes around 45 minutes before can take up to 2 hours now; riding the MRT was a breeze at 6 AM, today, you’ll have to fall in line for an hour to even reach the cashier. It makes having a seat on your peak-hour ride feels like winning the lottery; the number of jeepneys did not increase in proportion to the growth in the number of commuters, which makes it almost impossible to ride one during rush hours; and most public transport vehicles are already air-conditioned, except for the jeepneys, which means fare is more expensive.
Though our means of transportation has not changed that much, the challenges that accompany it has increased significantly over the past years. Jeepneys, buses, MRT, taxis, and the UV Express remain to be the primary public transportation of the ordinary Juan Dela Cruz.
If these all seem challenging for the daily office worker, how much more for a parent who has to bring his child to school, to the doctor, or even just for a weekend stroll at the mall.
While our transportation woes may not be relieved until an effective public transport system is in place, such as the addition of railway systems, here are some of the things you can do that can help your commute especially when you are traveling with your kids:
Pack Light. Your child will always need extras. Extra clothes, diapers, milk, and sometimes his own food & water. Try to fit those extras in one bag and bring only what is necessary for your trip so you don’t carry additional weight with you. You may also want to babywear instead of bringing a stroller.
Avoid the Rush Hour. If you can avoid the rush hour, do it all costs.
Heavy traffic during the weekends starts building up when the mall opens, usually at 10 AM. That’s because of the huge volume of those going to the malls, the bottleneck of which you’d see at the entrance of their parking lot.
Beat the traffic by leaving the house an hour earlier, when most are still preparing to leave the house.
Plan the Day Before. If you are unfamiliar with the destination, it would be helpful to plan your rides the day before. Google comes in handy as a simple search is able to provide routes from source to destination whether you are driving, commuting, or even walking.
You may also try mobile apps such as Sakay.ph that offers an accurate and efficient direction around the Metro. It even includes alternative modes like the Comet eJeeps and the Pasig River Ferry.
Load your Beep Card. Back then, we used to call them Stored Value Card, which can only be used in the MRT. Thankfully, it has evolved to the Beep Card that can be used in MRT, LRT, BGC Bus, and even make payments to Family Mart.
Having your Beep Cards loaded at any given time saves you the hassle of having to line up every time you need to buy those Single Journey Tickets. Reloading can also be done at SM Bills Payment and Bayad Centers.
Explore the P2P Bus Service. The P2P or Point to Point Premium Bus Service boasts of its expanded network of 56 stations including those in Alabang, Antipolo, Eastwood, NAIA, and even goes as far as Clark, Malolos, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.
Check out their bus schedules so you can plan your trip accordingly. The P2P Web App can be installed on your mobile device by adding it to your Home Screen to have it bookmarked.
Ride Share or Carpool. If you can foresee that it would be a really difficult commute for you and your kids, then ride sharing or carpool apps might be a better option. Grab app is one of the most commonly used nowadays. Just remember that since it is only a carpool service, you cannot expect the driver to pick you up or bring you to your destination door-to-door.
How about you? What’s your hack in your daily commute? Feel free to share in the comments below.