MANILA, Philippines?Twelve teams. Three destinations. But bring your own baon.
Commuting by train remains the cheapest and fastest way to travel in Metro Manila, based on results of the first two days of the ?Rush-hour commute,? a race that was devised by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net) in which volunteers were given three routes and various modes of transportation to get to their destination for three days from Aug. 4 to 6.
The objective is to determine the speediest and most economical commute during rush hour.
Day 1 (Monday) was won by Team MRT that traveled from EDSA North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City in 36 minutes. Each team member paid P15.
Team MRT was composed of Penelope Endozo of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) and Janie Octia of INQUIRER.net.
Day 2 (Tuesday) saw the teams racing from Santolan in Pasig City to C.M. Recto in Manila. Team LRT 2 won, arriving at the final destination in 33 minutes, with each member paying P15. Team LRT 2 was composed of Cita Goyagoy, Rissa Camongol and Lyn Rillon of the PDI and Izah Morales of INQUIRER.net
?Rush-hour commute? is a project of the Philippine Daily Inquirer?s Talk of the Town section with INQUIRER.net. The idea for the project stemmed from the consecutive fare increases in the wake of high fuel prices, according to Juan Sarmiento Jr., PDI senior desk editor and the project leader.
?We all know fuel prices have been increasing and transport groups have been demanding fare increases,? Sarmiento said.
Volunteers, divided into groups commuting by bus, jeepney, taxi, train (MRT/LRT) and private vehicle, will travel a specified route per day, all starting at 8 a.m.
Wednesday is the last day of the race, which will see the teams racing from Baclaran in Parañaque City to Monumento in Caloocan City.
Sarmiento said the project would also provide the public with baseline data for comparing the costs and travel time of the various modes of transportation in the metropolis of some 12 million people.
While bus and jeepney fares have increased, the cost of riding the MRT and LRT remains the same because it is heavily subsidized by government.
Accounts of the trip, photos and videos of the volunteer teams have been posted on the Rush-hour commute special website on INQUIRER.net.
Results will also be summarized?along with a visual presentation?in PDI?s Talk of the Town section on Aug. 10, and in the Libre free newspaper.
Although Team MRT won the race from EDSA North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay, members suffered delays due to the large volume of people queuing at the North Avenue Station on Monday at 8 a.m. People swarmed the MRT ticket booths as passengers started trickling in.
Endozo said the MRT ?is the fastest way to commute, the cheapest, too. But it is not convenient because when you get on the train your clothes are in the best condition but when you get off, they?re all creased.
?It?s a good thing the first coach is reserved for women, children, the pregnant, the elderly and the disabled. So there?s no unnecessary friction [groping by lechers].?
She noted that the coach that her team boarded was packed and there was not much elbow room.
Team CAR, composed of Elvira Mata and Stephanie Asuncion of PDI and Alex Villafania of INQUIRER.net, finished second, clocking in at one hour and 19 minutes, spending P200 for gas and traveling 16.8 kilometers.
Team TAXI, made up of Grig Montegrande and Kiko Gopez of PDI and Lawrence Casiraya of INQUIRER.net, waited 40 minutes to get a cab?about the same time it took Team MRT to reach the finish line.
Montegrande said: ?It took us another 55 minutes to get to our destination. It?s really something to wait for a cab in this part of EDSA ... you?re forced to take matters into your own hands. You?ll run after the taxi. Bad trip. But it?s worth it because it?s air-con and you have a driver.? His team?s cab fare totaled P180.
Team BUS, composed of Iris Desvarro and Nita del Rosario of PDI and Morales, was the last team to reach the finish line. The team took almost two hours to get to Taft Avenue, with each member spending P40.
Although it described the ride as uncomfortably hot and shaky, Team LRT 2 finished first in the race from Santolan in Pasig City to C.M. Recto in Manila.
Goyagoy said her group was lucky because the train was not packed with passengers, most of whom were students.
Teammate Camongol agreed: ?The ticket queue moved quite fast. The train was full but there was still elbow room. We amused ourselves reading ?Berso sa Metro? (Spanish poems with English translation). We also looked at the sights along the way.?
They both found the LRT a fast, convenient and affordable way to travel.
Team CAR, composed of Abel Ulanday and Fran Katigbak of PDI and Octia, finished second after getting bogged down in Cubao in Quezon City and Legarda in Manila, and witnessing two jeepneys collide that caused a slight and brief congestion on Magsaysay Boulevard.
Despite the delay, Team CAR cruised to the finish line in an hour and nine minutes, spending a total of P180 and traveling 12.8 kilometers. Team CAR reported consuming about two to three liters of gasoline.
Team TAXI, made up of Ernie Sarmiento of PDI and Casiraya, finished third. They waited 15 minutes to find a cab but it took them an hour and 20 minutes to reach the finish line. The fare was P180.
Team JEEPNEY, composed of Cenon Bibe of PDI and Villafania finished last. They had to take a connecting ride in Cubao. There were no direct jeepney routes from Santolan to C.M. Recto.
Last chance to catch it
It took Team JEEPNEY an hour and 26 minutes and P27.50 for each member to get to the finish line.
Catch the last day of the race on Wednesday. Follow the blow-by-blow accounts at www.inquirer.net/rushhourcommute. For individual team reports, check the Lifestyle section under blogs. Reports from Stephanie Asuncion, Elvira Mata and INQUIRER.net