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We Are Losing 3.5 Billion Pesos Daily, Seriously?

By Ysh Estayo

Monday, May 20, 2024

Is There Still Hope for Resolving Traffic Chaos and Mass Transit Misery?

One of the most significant issues plaguing Metro Manila is its severe traffic congestion. According to a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), as reported on their website (Link), “The economic loss caused by the traffic congestion is estimated to be approximately 3.5 billion pesos (about 7 billion yen) per day, an indication of how the severity of the situation is harming the international competitiveness of the Republic of the Philippines (Philippines) by presenting a bottleneck to the smooth mobility of goods and people”. This figure is not just a monetary loss but represents countless hours wasted by commuters stuck in gridlock, which could otherwise be spent on productive activities or personal time.

Multiple factors contribute to this congestion, with the sheer volume of vehicles overwhelming the roads. According to recent findings on passenger transport and commuting patterns in the Philippines, revealed in a study by C. Balita at Statista published on April 29, 2024, titled "Passenger Transport in the Philippines - Statistics & Facts," in 2023, Metro Manila saw an average daily traffic volume of around 1.67 million motorcycles, followed closely by approximately 1.57 million cars. This resulted in a total traffic volume of about 3.63 million vehicles of all types that year. Additionally, the inadequacy of the cities' road network exacerbates congestion during peak hours.

Public Transport Woes

The public transport system in Metro Manila is a patchwork of buses, jeepneys, tricycles, and trains, each with its own set of challenges. Jeepneys, a traditional and iconic mode of transportation, are often criticized for their lack of safety and environmental inefficiency. Buses, although more extensive in coverage, suffer from the same traffic congestion as private vehicles, leading to unreliable schedules. How about the fare surge of ride-hailing apps and the congestion caused by the increasing number of cars—do they contribute to the problem instead of offering a solution?

The Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems are crucial for decongesting the roads but are plagued by their own issues. Overcrowding during peak hours is a common sight, with commuters often squeezed into packed carriages. Technical breakdowns and maintenance problems further exacerbate the situation, causing delays and inconvenience.

The obstacles outlined above are reflected in the data provided by C. Balita via Statista. The study delved into the time lost during rush hour in Manila, Philippines, spanning from 2019 to 2023. In 2023, commuters in Manila experienced a substantial increase in time lost during rush hour, amounting to approximately 105 hours per year. This figure surpassed the previous year's total, indicating a worsening situation. Notably, commuters tend to spend more hours in rush hour during the evening than during morning trips.

This study also delved into the daily commute durations within the Philippines in 2023. Based on a mobility survey conducted in June 2023, it was found that 28 percent of respondents reported spending an average of 15 to 29 minutes commuting to work, school, or university. Additionally, 27 percent stated that they spent an average of 30 to 59 minutes commuting each day.

An analysis of transportation preferences in the Philippines for 2023 highlighted significant trends. Based on a consumer survey conducted in January 2023, approximately 60 percent of respondents favored public transportation, such as trains and buses, as their primary mode of transport. In contrast, 15 percent indicated a preference for private motorcycles.

Infrastructure Deficiencies

The infrastructure in Metro Manila has not evolved to meet the demands of its growing population in recent decades, leading to overcrowding and increased demand for transportation services. According to the National Capital Region Population' report from the 2020 Census of Population, released on Friday, January 13, 2023, with the reference number 2023 –SR–13-002, the National Capital Region recorded a total population of 13,484,462 persons. We will provide the latest data once there is an available 2024 report.

While there have been efforts to expand and improve the road network, such as the construction of skyways and expressways, these solutions often provide only temporary relief. 

Moreover, pedestrian infrastructure is severely lacking. Sidewalks are often narrow, poorly maintained, or nonexistent, forcing pedestrians to share the road with vehicles, which poses significant safety risks.

The Socioeconomic Impact

The inefficiencies in Metro Manila’s transport system have profound socioeconomic implications. Long and unpredictable commute times contribute to stress and fatigue among workers, impacting productivity and overall quality of life. The economic burden is also felt by businesses, which face increased operational costs due to delays in the transport of goods and services.

These provide valuable insights into the challenges and dynamics of passenger transport and commuting in the Philippines, offering a basis for addressing congestion and improving transportation infrastructure and policies.

Potential Solutions and Innovations

Addressing the transport challenges in Metro Manila requires a multifaceted approach:

1. Public Transport Modernization: There is an urgent need to modernize and expand the public transport system. The government's Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program aims to replace old jeepneys with safer, more efficient vehicles. Expanding the MRT and LRT networks and ensuring regular maintenance can also help reduce overcrowding and improve reliability.

2. Traffic Management:Implementing advanced traffic management systems can help optimize traffic flow. This includes synchronized traffic lights, real-time traffic monitoring, and stricter enforcement of traffic rules.

3. Infrastructure Development: Investing in sustainable infrastructure, such as dedicated bus lanes, bike lanes, and pedestrian walkways, can provide commuters with more reliable and safer alternatives to private vehicles.

4. Smart City Initiatives: Leveraging technology to create a more connected and intelligent urban transport system can lead to better traffic predictions, route planning, and commuter information systems.

5. Promoting Alternative Transport: Encouraging the use of bicycles and electric scooters through dedicated lanes and secure parking facilities can help reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

The government has initiated infrastructure projects aimed at improving road networks and public transportation systems, such as the Build, Build, Build program, including MRT - 7 and LRT line 6. Measures such as the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP), also known as the number coding scheme, aim to reduce traffic congestion by limiting the number of vehicles on the road on certain days. 

The ongoing subway project is a promising initiative of the government to effectively address this issue. We will publish a separate article on this, as well as other efforts by the government.

However, as we strive for progress as a nation, it's crucial not to become complacent with existing solutions. We must maintain a forward-thinking approach and innovation.

Introducing RAILBUS: An Innovative Mass Transit System

What if we could implement this Mass Transit System across all cities, suburbs, or even the entire country?


Ultra lightweight vehicles and high flexibility in operations which reduces the cost of the track's infrastructure significantly, reaching less than twenty percent of the cost of a Metro system that has the same length and capacity.

RAILBUS as a mass transit system can literally transform every city in the world and promote economic growth in developing nations, as well as in leading countries. RAILBUS  impact will be significant in cities struggling with poor road infrastructure that are far exceeding their designed capacity and in need of a solution.

Designed for Efficiency

Using small, driverless electric vehicles that run on an elevated  tracks, the lightweight and flexible nature of the system enables it to be retrofitted into a broad range of environments and provide transportation that is environmentally friendly and operationally efficient.

Metro, Tram and PRT require passengers to collect in groups, wait until a large vehicle with a fixed schedule arrives, and travel on a predetermined route stopping for additional passengers on the way. In contrast, RAILBUS offers frequent transport with less waiting, taking passengers much faster to their destination.

RAILBUS Interior and Features

RAILBUS Interior including seats, as well as panels, roof lining, floor and door interiors made from recycled microfiber derives from polyester fibers (T-shirts, fibers etc.) and PET plastic (bottles, packaging materials etc.). Recycling PET means a reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emissions into the atmosphere by 80% compared to the traditional petrol-based PET production process.

  • Highly Modular Construction

  • Ultra-Light Weight

  • Fully Electric Solar Powered

  • Elevated End-to-End

  • Simultaneous Loading & Off-loading

  • Dynamic Route Management

  • Great return on investment

  • Reliability, Robustness & Safety

RAILBUS Vehicles

Engineered from top to bottom with high strength low weight  components and modules. Packed with the latest technologies to maximize safety and efficiency while minimizing energy and maintenance costs.

The RAILBUS vehicle is a groundbreaking addition to the realm of urban public transportation. Designed with cutting-edge technology and a focus on sustainability, RAILBUS vehicles represent the next step in eco-friendly transit solutions. These vehicles are engineered to provide a seamless, efficient, and environmentally responsible travel experience in urban settings.

Key Features of RAILBUS Vehicles

  1. Solar-Powered Efficiency: At the heart of RAILBUS’s sustainability pledge is its reliance on solar energy. ِAll tracks will be covered with state-of-the-art solar panels, harnessing renewable energy to power its journeys. This not only reduces carbon emissions but also ensures a consistent, cost-effective energy supply.

  2. Advanced Design: RAILBUS vehicles boast a sleek, modern design optimized for urban landscapes. The aerodynamic structure minimizes energy consumption while maximizing passenger comfort. Attention to detail in design contributes to a pleasing aesthetic that integrates smoothly into the cityscape.

  3. Spacious and Accessible: Comfort and accessibility are central to the RAILBUS experience. The vehicles are designed to be spacious, with ample room for seating and standing passengers. They are also compliant with disability legislation, ensuring that they are accessible to all, including those with mobility challenges.

  4. Eco-Friendly Materials: In line with its commitment to the environment, RAILBUS vehicles are constructed using recyclable and eco-friendly materials. This approach reduces the ecological footprint of manufacturing and maintains the ethos of sustainability throughout the vehicle’s lifecycle.

  5. Low Noise Emission: RAILBUS vehicles are designed to operate with minimal noise, contributing to reduced sound pollution in urban areas. This feature is particularly advantageous in densely populated cities, where noise pollution is a significant concern.

  6. High Efficiency and Reliability: Engineered for optimal performance, RAILBUS vehicles are reliable and efficient. They are equipped with the latest in transportation technology, ensuring that they meet the high demands of urban public transit in terms of both performance and durability.

  7. Safety and Security: Safety is paramount in the design of RAILBUS vehicles. Equipped with advanced safety features and monitored by a dedicated team, these vehicles provide a secure and reassuring environment for passengers.

The RAILBUS Advantage

  1. Reduced Environmental Impact: By utilizing solar power and eco-friendly materials, RAILBUS vehicles significantly lower the carbon footprint of urban transportation.

  2. Enhanced Urban Mobility: With their efficient design and operation, RAILBUS vehicles offer a swift and comfortable transit solution, alleviating urban congestion.

  3. Economic Efficiency: The use of renewable energy sources and durable materials ensures that RAILBUS vehicles are not only environmentally sustainable but also economically viable in the long term.

The introduction of RAILBUS vehicles marks a significant milestone in the journey towards sustainable urban mobility. With their innovative design and eco-friendly operations, these vehicles are set to transform the landscape of public transportation, making it more accessible, efficient, and harmonious with the environment.

Metro Manila's traffic and transport problems are complex issues that require a multi-faceted approach to address. Efforts are being made to improve infrastructure and implement policies aimed at reducing congestion, but the challenges remain significant. Investing in public transportation, implementing traffic management strategies, and promoting sustainable transportation options are key steps to create a more efficient and livable city. We need to be intentional in solving this Metro Manila chaos, as suburban cities in the region are also experiencing similar challenges to those in the capital city. If we do nothing, it's going to be hard for us in the next 30 years

Could RAILBUS be the breakthrough to resolve our traffic chaos and mass transit problems?

If you are asking if this innovation is expensive, do the math for 3.5 billion loss per day?

RAILBUS is a company that creates the first 100% solar powered mass transportation system.RAILBUS state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly and low-cost vehicle is developed by a team of ambitious visionary entrepreneurs, industrial designers and transportation specialists. RAILBUS co-operates with strategic partners and suppliers drawn from the light rail, automotive and rapid transit industries.

RAILBUS Inc. is registered in The State of Delaware with the number 4623510 and its headquarters office is in Silicon Oasis in Dubai. RAILBUS is considered one of the few companies that has obtained membership in the International Union of Public Transport (UITP) due to its development of a system that is considered a major addition and a qualitative shift in public transportation. Please visit their website at for more details and reference.


Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). (n.d.). [Title of the report]. Retrieved from

Balita, C. (2024, April 29). Passenger transport in the Philippines - statistics & facts. Statista. Retrieved from

National Capital Region Population Report. (2023, January 13). Retrieved from,99.4%20percent%20or%2013%2C403%2C551%20persons.

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