The arrival of the “BER” months in the Philippines did not only signal the beginning of the countdown to Christmas, but also the start of heavier traffic, particularly in Metro Manila.

Data from traffic navigation app Waze showed that in September 2019, it took close to five minutes for vehicles to cover a one kilometer stretch in the metropolis.

This is longer compared to the travel time in Metro Manila last April and in comparison to similarly congested cities like Bogota in Colombia and Jakarta in Indonesia.

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) attributed the heavier traffic to the continuously growing number of vehicles on the roads.      

In 2018, the average daily traffic in Metro Manila hit more than 2.8 million vehicles.

The MMDA said the main throughfare, EDSA, has long exceeded its capacity.

Malacañang declined to comment on Waze’s data but said, the government is addressing the traffic situation through the build, build, build program.

To help ease traffic in the metro this Christmas season, malls will open at 11AM or an hour later than the usual, from November 11, 2019 to January 10, 2020.

The MMDA has also implemented the “no-weekday-sale” policy and suspended road reblockings along EDSA and C5, except for flagship government projects.

It also plans to continue with road clearing operations. (Jasper Camilo)