This Study Shows How Ridesharing Might Make Manila Liveable Again

IMAGE Wikimedia Commons/Elmer B. Domingo

Traffic is one of the things Filipinos hate most about Manila, and for good reason: commuters take 132% longer to travel during rush hour than they would without traffic. That’s according to an Uber-commissioned study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) called Unlocking Cities: The Impact of Ridesharing in Southeast Asia and Beyond.

The study paints a clear picture of just how dire the traffic situation has gotten in Manila. Here, drivers spend 23 days and nearly P100,000 sitting in traffic and searching for parking every year.

There are 75% more cars on the road during rush hour and naturally, this impacts the environment as well. Manila’s yearly carbon dioxide emissions could fill the Mall of Asia 2000 times. At least we aren’t alone—if the traffic in Ho Chi Minh and Jakarta doesn’t improve, it could come to a standstill within 5 years. 

In the absence of a decent public transportation system, ridesharing could alleviate this situation by lessening the number of cars on the road. But for this to happen, people would have to give up owning cars altogether and carpool with strangers.

Filipinos love the comfort that comes with having your own car. Out of the 300 Manileños surveyed by the BCG, 84% plan on buying a vehicle within the next 5 years. But at the same time, 88% of them are willing to forego their plans if ridesharing services improve in terms of price, availability, and timeliness.


In fact, Manila has the greatest number of rideshare users in Southeast Asia, with rideshare trips making up 19% of the transportation mix. Twenty-two percent of Manila’s rideshare app users pool their trips too. 

The BCG estimates that if we all adopted ridesharing over private car ownership, we could get 1 million cars off the road—that’s about 56% of vehicles in Manila today. The road congestion during rush hour would be reduced by as much as 88%. We would free up 3,362 hectares of parking space too—that’s 26 times the length of EDSA (which tends to look like a parking lot anyway).

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We could certainly see more Filipinos using Uber and Grab instead of buying cars, what with the TRAIN law raising taxes on lower end cars. But with the memory of how hard it was to book an Uber last Christmas still fresh in our minds, rideshare apps will have to step up their game if they really want Filipinos to see carpooling as a viable alternative to driving their own vehicles.



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Angelica Gutierrez
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