Commuting in Manila: 10 Types of Drivers You Meet Everyday

Dalawa pa dito, aalis na! 

(There’s space for two more people, the jeep’s about to leave!)

Seriously? We’re all smooshed like sardines in here.

Terrifying and stressful as it may be to traverse city streets by jeeps and buses, horror commuting experiences can still, at times, turn into funny stories in retrospect.

manila commute_01via Ten Minutes


Manila roads are certainly not the easiest to navigate around with busy streets choked with cars and bustling with pedestrians. It is even worse for commuters who not only have to endure traffic like every other person on the road, but also have to deal with crowded public utility vehicles, the heat, and city pollution. Oh, joy.

Regular commuters have had their share of both positive experiences and downright scary ones while commuting. Here are the ten kinds of PUV drivers most commonly encountered by commuters on the road.

10. The Choosy One

The picky drivers are usually the cab drivers. It’s not uncommon for some cab drivers out there to refuse to bring you to your destination because it’s out of the way, traffic’s already bad there, it’s too far, they’re not familiar with the place, et cetera. Some will even charge an extra Php 50 or Php 100.

Here’s a true story relayed by a friend of mine. She was standing in line at a taxi lane. A cab came by and the first person in line told the driver her destination. The cab refused and reversed for the next person in line. He then went on to refuse each person’s destination, including my friend’s, reversing further until he almost reached the end of the line. In frustration, one of the people in line cried out, “Wow, kuya! ‘Wag ka na na maghanap ng pasahero, wala ka namang ipapasakay eh!” (“Wow! Don’t bother looking for passengers, you’re not going to give them a ride anyway!”)

Oh well! UberChopper, anyone?

5 reasons why you should use taxi apps 3

9. Mr. DJ

The DJ’s of the Road are the jeepney drivers who have hooked up subwoofers inside their vehicles and blast really loud novelty songs, much to the annoyance of commuters (and ill effects on their eardrums). You can’t escape with your headphones once you’re inside this pimped up jeepney. The songs on their playlist are guaranteed to get stuck inside your head.

And because of the music blaring from the speakers, the driver can’t hear you call out your destination when you hand him your fare. Loud music, sweaty people, bright lights in the jeep. All that’s left now is a bar and we have ourselves a makeshift club. Not.

manila commute_04via Pinterest

8. The Eager Beaver

This type of driver is eager to collect more passengers and can be very persistent. Eager beaver drivers are like cats. “Oh look, a human waiting for a ride! Must swerve vehicle towards them! Aww.. No ride? Okay..” Even if they aren’t being flagged down, these eager beavers are sure to try and persuade people waiting for a bus or jeep by waving them in. They usually stretch out their hand towards the windshield and point at people.

Commuters who are running late can only grit their teeth in frustration because manong is eager to get more passengers and to earn more. It can also be a nuisance for other cars who stay in one lane near the sidewalk and find themselves braking hard when PUV’s suddenly swerve towards the curb.

manila commute_05via Scribbles Republic

7. The Talk Show Host

These are the drivers who will ask you questions about your life and in turn tell you stories about theirs, be it funny, inspirational, melodramatic, or terrifying. Kind of like showbiz talk shows. Sometimes, you’ll find something interesting in their car like a mini library on the dashboard and then they’ll engage you in a conversation about books they’ve read.

There’s even a taxi with a karaoke machine to provide passengers with entertainment during long rides! Now, that’s commuting a little less mundane.

Friendly reminder to be careful in sharing too much information though, especially personal ones.

karaoke taxi

6. Mr. Scrooge

Have you ever experienced this? You give the driver a 50-peso bill but you’re given change for only 20 pesos. Or you try and ask for your change but the driver tells you they’ve given it to you. We all know it’s hard to toil for your buck in this day and age (plus taxes, ugh). But when we work to earn, we have to do so honestly.

Mr. Scrooge behaviors aren’t limited to drivers. Some bus conductors would say you haven’t paid the fare when you’ve handed it to him 30 mins ago. Being responsible on the road does not only mean following road rules. For PUV drivers, it also means honest business practices.

manila commute_06via Mugstoria

What are the other types of drivers? More on the next page!


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