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Waze tips on beating the holiday traffic

By Botchi Santos Philippine Daily Inquirer October 23,2019

Christmas is coming, and with it, the unavoidable traffic jams. Well, we recently met with Waze to help see how we can avoid getting stuck in traffic as the ’ber months start rolling in. And what we gleaned from the short meeting was truly eye-opening.

First of all, weekday traffic starts picking up by 7 a.m., and now carries all the way to 6 p.m. where it reaches its peak.

Traffic only starts subsiding past 11 p.m. On weekends, traffic still reaches a frenzied peak, but starts at 10 a.m., later than the weekday, and peaks between 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.. This is exacerbated during payday weekends when people go out to market, go home to nearby provinces to visit extended families, and generally just go out more as people have money to spend. This is one area where we can avoid traffic. Avoid going out on payday weekends, and go the weekend after, or leave and come home from the market / doing groceries before the traffic peaks.

Secondly, we take a look at the most navigated areas especially during the ‘ber months. 39.4% of Waze users navigate to shopping centers for food, shopping, recreation and attending parties and events. The lesson? Avoid the malls, shop elsewhere, or at the very least, avoid the rush. Go early, on off-days away from the weekend, and do your Christmas shopping early. Things will get worse as Christmas approaches.

Stand-alone restaurants are the second most sought-after destinations Waze users go to, accounting for 24.9%. And comparing it with the rest of Waze’s data, it’s dinner time where restaurants are busiest. You can save yourself some hassle by scheduling early dinners in restaurants, particularly dinner meetings and social events, or avoiding having dinner at restaurants altogether by staying home, using many of the Food Delivery Apps like Grab and LalaFood, or scheduling your meetings for lunch or afternoon tea (merienda), instead of dinner.

17.1% of Waze users surprisingly head to hotels, most likely for a nice posh meal or business meetings, and on weekends, a quick getaway. If you’re going out of town, leave early, but if you’re checking in, do remember that most hotels and resorts have a check-in policy of 2-3PM. So if you’re going to Tagaytay for example, prepare to spend the early part of the day sight-seeing before proceeding to the hotel. If your hotel is nearby, you can opt to drop off your things ahead, then go touring in the area. If you’re heading to a city hotel for a fancy meal, attending a convention or checking in, allot more time for traffic and so that you can find good parking. Parking is another issue causing massive traffic as cars are parked on public roads. The government has already mandated that all roads be free of traffic, and many local municipalities have complied. But there are still errant drivers and car owners who refuse to comply and park their vehicles on public roads, blocking traffic flow.

Interestingly, 10.8% of all Waze users navigate to banks. It is in this area where one can really get frustrated. As banks move more towards online banking transactions, it becomes more difficult to go to a bank, find parking, do your banking needs with a physical bank teller, then go home. Many banks have sparse parking. Even people just going to the ATM have great difficulty. The obvious step is to enroll your account in your bank’s online banking system, tie-in all your monthly utilities to your account (water, electricity, mobile phone, internet and credit card billing), and avoid the time and hassle of going out to pay your bills. This will really save you so much time and give so much convenience. As for ATM users, figure out your weekly cash expenses and withdraw on weekends where traffic is lighter. By minimizing your ATM withdrawals, you will need to go to the bank less for physical cash. And remember, banks charge an ATM withdrawal fee too, so the less times you withdraw, the more money you save!

Last but not the least, 7.8% of all Waze users navigate to stand-alone supermarkets and groceries. This is another area one can make better and more efficient use of their time. Instead of scheduling a single trip to the grocery or supermarket, try to tie-in all errands in a single trip so you accomplish more. For example, in a single trip, go to a supermarket or grocery with a bank or ATM nearby, then pay your bills if you’re still old-school and refuse to make use of online banking payment systems, and grab a meal while you’re at it with family and friends.

The best way to beat traffic is to plan ahead, organize your trips, and try to accomplish as many things as possible each time you step out of your home or office. This saves you invaluable time, hassle, energy and money, instead of doing numerous small trips for specific errands you could have accomplished all in one go. Forewarned is forearmed! We’ll also look at more tips from Waze in the coming weeks to help everyone beat traffic!

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