Manila Office Workers Consider Dorms to Cope With World’s Worst Traffic

File Phoyo: Filipino commuters exit the Cubao MRT station in Quezon City, Philippines, December 3, 2018. A worker sometimes takes the train to avoid the heavy traffic on the road. Trains to Metro Manila however are just as crowded as the traffic-congested roads, especially during rush hour. (Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)

By Siegfrid Alegado

Nearly half of working professionals in the Philippines capital region consider living in a dormitory to avoid traffic jams, according to property services company Colliers International Group Inc.

About 45% of respondents in a Colliers survey are “willing to stay in a co-living facility” as financial and personal costs of worsening traffic in Metro Manila mount, research manager Joey Bondoc said at a briefing on Wednesday.

Workers spend as much as 4,500 pesos ($89) monthly on commuting and are on the road for more than three hours for a one-way trip, Bondoc said. They are willing to spend as much as 6,000 pesos to live in a dormitory-type lodging closer to work, he said.

The Philippine capital region is set to top Waze Inc.’s 2019 ranking of the world’s worst cities to drive in, beating the likes of Bogota and Jakarta. Worsening mobility in Manila has prompted builders from Ayala Land Inc. to SM Prime Holdings Inc. to offer worker dormitories.

Colliers, which tracks co-living spaces in three districts in Metro Manila, forecasts beds in shared accommodations to rise by 51% to 11,010 in the two years to 2021.

Some professionals are also considering sharing with friends a studio or one-bedroom apartment in key business districts, Bondoc said.

Builders which offer dormitories “should start offering differentiating features” such as fitness centers and private lounges to compete, he said.

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