By now, everyone will agree that the commute situation in EDSA can simply be described as hell. Everyday people go to work battling monsters such as traffic, long lines, and broken facilities on buses and trains. Commuters are now considered as warriors. Having endured a lot of crap before reaching our destination, we feel like we’ve won a long battle. Here are 10 tips every EDSA warrior should know:
1. Prepare one day before the battle.
Strategic planning is important in winning the battle against traffic. If you can afford to, schedule all your important meetings at the latter part of the day. Estimate a time when you will be at your office/event, then add an hour before you schedule your meetings. Your estimated time should factor in the worst traffic situation possible. Because if it’s possible, it will probably happen one of these days. You’ll lessen your sure-not-probable anxiety if you know you will be able to attend your important meeting.
2. Wake Up Early
This goes without saying, but you really need to wake up earlier nowadays. Your usual 15-minute travel time to work could be a one and a half hour-nightmare, so better make sure you leave home early. Don’t anticipate that your usual travel time will apply. Remember that the Christmas season is already upon us, so better expect the worst traffic scenario. Sometimes, it’s better to wake up early and then just sleep on the bus or the train (if you can). Or if you ever get to your work early, you can take a nap in the office.
3. Eat a hearty breakfast.
Never skip a meal! No matter what happens, do not skip breakfast. If your bus is inching through EDSA, you don’t want your stomach grumbling all the way. Imagine the headache from traffic plus headache from your hunger! Don’t torture yourself. Commuting is torture enough. Make sure to eat before leaving home. Or better yet, pack crackers and food so you can munch on something while you wait in vain.
Since we’re talking about food, let’s not forget that we also need refreshments. Make sure you have enough water to quench your thirst. Invest in tumblers and water jugs. If you can afford it, invest in a water jug that can keep your water cold and your coffee warm. Because of the long travel time, you will surely end up with warm water or cold coffee. And we don’t want to add that in our disappointments, do we?
5. Plan your pee stops.
And speaking of hydrating, do not forget to plan your pee stops. When commuting, you might be too thirsty that you down a liter of water in just a few minutes. You may not feel the effect immediately, but with the current traffic situation, there is a chance you’ll need to pee before you get to your office. So with that being said, make sure you know where restrooms are along your route. Make sure you know if there are gas stations or restaurants along your route. If you ever need to pee, get off the bus or get off the next train stop. You shouldn’t hold it in especially since you might not know how long you will have to wait to relieve yourself. And of course, pee first before leaving your house.
6. Know what’s happening in your route.
We have a lot of amazing apps that can share information about the traffic situation in your area. If you can know ahead of time if there will be extra delays, you may be able to decide which route to take to lessen your travel time. There’s a roadside accident in Ortigas? Better make sure to take a bus that’s going through Ortigas Flyover. Before you leave home, you can check out early-morning TV news shows that share the current traffic situation. Knowledge is power. And in our current traffic hell, knowledge is power to avoid more traffic.
7. Get to know other ways to get to your destination.
Is EDSA the only route to use to get to your destination? If yes, find out what kind of transportation options are available. How much time do you spend if you take the train? How about if you take the bus? Learn about the pros and cons of taking a specific public transpo. So, in case you’re stuck, you can choose another way to speed up your travel time or to make your travel more comfortable. Possible side effect: more cash deducted from your paycheck.
8. Entertain yourself.
You’re lucky if the bus you are taking is playing a really good movie. The perfect entertainment situation on a bus would be: an HD movie with subtitles (so the driver won’t have to blast the movie on its speakers). But you won’t get lucky every day. Trains don’t even have in-house entertainment. If you’re lucky, you could be squeezed against the doors and the passing scenery could be your source of entertainment. But just so you can keep your cool, pack some feel-good tunes in your iPod (better include these EDSA warrior tunes in your playlist). If you have enough space where you’re sitting (or standing), you can watch movies on your phone. Catch up on some reading by bringing a book. You won’t care too much about time wasted when you’re distracted.
9. Commute defensively.
Safety is the most important factor in commuting. Make sure that your bags are zipped up. If it’s possible, have it locked. Always be alert! Be aware of the current modus operandi of criminals. Aside from that, contribute to the solution by making sure to report any crime you may have experienced or witnessed. Don’t show off too much money or jewelry. Keep your change and fare money in a small coin purse to avoid exposing your wallet and other valuables.
10. Notify your boss.
If all else fails and you’re really stuck in EDSA, don’t forget to text and notify your boss. If your office is in Ayala and you’re still in the North Avenue station 30 minutes before your call time, then you’ll mot likely be late for work. Rule of thumb: let your boss know that you’re going to be late at least 30 minutes before your call time.
Featured Image by Roberto Verzo via Flickr Creative Commons