A look at the daily travails of commuters
Packed tightly into vehicles and forced to endure long lines for rides, commuters in Metro Manila offer an indication that the COVID-19 pandemic is waning and a return to normal could be starting.
As early as 4 p.m., an hour shy of the daily rush hour, a noticeable buildup of commuters occupy at least one lane of EDSA northbound at the intersection with Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City.
Regardless of gender and age, passengers scuffle to hop on a still moving jeepney as it makes a u-turn from EDSA’s southbound lane, as rush hour nears. In this particular corner of Pasay City, where jeepneys ply further south to Parañaque City, commuters scramble for a seat on public utility vehicles.
Before the rush hour begins at around 5 p.m., a crowd slowly builds up close to the intersection of EDSA and Roxas Boulevard. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Commuters flock to the loading bay along EDSA to get a ride home, mostly to the south. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
The number of people at the loading bay forces some of the commuters to break protocol and wait in areas not designated for loading. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
A "habal-habal" rider, an alternative means of transportation for short routes, assists other commuters on where to get their rides. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
As 5 p.m. nears, the hustle for a seat on PUVs intensifies. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Commuters run to board a jeepney which have yet to make it to the designated stop. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Passengers struggle to hop onto passing jeepneys. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
People swarm onto a jeepney before it has yet to fully stop. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
With seats taken even before it can reach the loading area, many other commuters are left without a ride until the next jeepney passes. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
The number of commuters multiply with jeepneys unable to accommodate more passengers due to limited capacity. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Unmindful of discomfort and the physical distancing imposed during the pandemic, commuters pack into jeepneys like sardines in a can. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Night falls and commuters are still struggling to get rides home. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Weary commuters relax for a while sitting on lane barriers before their next scuffle for a ride. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Enterprising vendors sell food on the go for those who gone hungry with all the waiting. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
The number of commuters do not ease up until past 7 p.m. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
For some, only a mobile phone lets them continue on with their life as they wait for the commute back home. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
A Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) study in 2018 said the daily gridlock costs the Philippines at least "P3.5 billion in lost opportunities." Another study in 2019, by TomTom Traffic Index, a worldwide traffic monitoring website, indicates the public loses over 10 days in a year to traffic in Metro Manila.
With work almost back to its pre-pandemic level and schools slowly returning to full face-to-face classes, the old traffic situation is rearing its ugly head again.
For some, the situation is disconcerting after 2 years of COVID-19 curbs that required social distancing and banned "sabit" or standing passengers.