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Travel times getting longer in congested Metro Manila

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Soul-crushing traffic is a regular feature of life in Manila, whose infrastructure has not kept pace with incomes.

Manila

TRAVEL times have become longer in Asia's most congested metropolitan area, and they're expected to get even worse in the run-up to the Christmas holiday, according to Waze Inc.

It took about 4.9 minutes to drive one kilometre in Metro Manila in September, longer than the roughly 3.8 minutes it took in April, data from the Google-owned traffic navigation app shows. The Philippine capital region is set to top Waze's 2019 ranking of the world's worst cities to drive in, beating out the likes of Bogota and Jakarta, country manager Sarah Rodriguez said.

Soul-crushing traffic is a regular feature of life in a city whose infrastructure hasn't kept pace with incomes. It is now a constraint on the economy, as ageing public transport struggles to accommodate a growing population, fuelling the take-up of private cars. It will only worsen in the remaining months of the year, Ms Rodriguez said, especially over the All Souls' Day long weekend when Filipinos typically go out of town, and before Christmas thanks to more frequent trips to restaurants, bars and shopping malls.

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Waze expects to see a 16 per cent jump in kilometres driven and a 10 per cent increase in its 1.6 million active users over the peak November and December period, she said.

Movement patterns are also changing in the metropolitan area as more vehicles ply the roads and Filipinos opt to drive more. Waze data shows that traffic now steadily builds up throughout the day and then peaks at night, Ms Rodriguez said. "Two years ago, there were two spikes - morning rush hour and evening rush hour - then in-between there was a dip. Now, it has changed. There's no more midday dip," she said. BLOOMBERG