Difference of the Philippines and USA in transportation

When I was in communications training in a call center, we were asked to participate in an activity about American cultures. Basically, we were supposed to research on differences between America and the Philippines in terms of different subjects such as culture, food, education, etc. And I noticed that, there weren’t many websites giving the differences. So, I got curious myself. I wanted to interview someone in America and compare what they say to the stuff here in the Philippines. Today, I’m going to start with transportation.

Disclaimers: I only interviewed my Filipina friend who grew up in California and has never gone to the Philippines. Things she say might be subjective and does not apply in general. But, whatever, it’s still good to know. Haha


Again, this is based on the information I gathered from my friend who lives in California and my own comparison with the transportation here in the Philippines.


In America, you get to places usually with your own car. If not, other options are by bus, by train, by taxi, or by Uber.

In the Philippines, we have all of those but the difference is that, we have more.

We have jeepneys, a usually colorful 20 seater public transportation driving through common jeepney routes.



Philippine Jeepney


Inside the Jeepney

It is usually designed with colorful arts. Specific fare amount are for specific distances based on where you got in the jeep and where you’re getting off. At the time that I’m writing this, minimum fare is 7 pesos. Due to how it is designed, people need to pass the fare to one another until it reaches the driver. To tell the driver to stop so that you can get down, you say “Para!”,(I’m not sure why we use spanish specific to stopping the jeep. It is not the general term for stop in the Philippines).

We also have the tricycle.


It’s more expensive than jeepneys but it will take you to specific places outside the jeepney route like, directly to your house. It’s limited to a specific location though. So it’ like a taxi, but a completely different look and it can only take you to shorter distances.

I’ll also discuss the difference of the transportations America and Philippines both have.


Other than having different locations for the steering wheel that everyone knows about, the new thing I knew was that a lot of people use cards in America even for parking tickets. Everything is getting automated in the U.S. There are machines that will allow you to either pay parking through cash or card. And parking tickets paid through card are tax deductable, which is cool!

Whereas in the Philippines, paying for parking is through cash. If there are parking areas that lets you pay through card, I have never heard of it, but that would be cool.


In the Philippines and America, people use cash to pay the fare. However, for some taxis in America, you can also swipe your card. In my country, unless your taxis is through Uber or Grab, they fare is really through cash. Another thing is that, both countries have meters on their taxis.

Taxi is also more common in New York, but not in California. Due to the small quantity of Taxis in California, people usually use Uber.


My friend said that in America, people more often pay by cash than my card for both buses and taxis. But a lot of people are also using bus passes using a bus pass card in which they are mailed a bill every month. They have the option to pay via check. Another option is that the payment gets deducted automatically from their bank account. Buses in America, like in other places, will also be found only in the main route. There are also bus schedules that has to be followed. If you miss one bus, you have to wait for the next one.

For paying by cash in America, there’s this box next to the driver in which you can insert your money in. Some machines can read the money you put and the driver will let the passenger pass. There’s a slot for the prepaid bus pass and a slot for paper money and coins.


The Box


Prepaid Bus Pass Machine

Meanwhile in the Philippines, public buses are only by cash. It’s not really that organized as the ones in America. Buses in the Philippines are also found in the main route. There are two different buses: Airconditioned and non-Airconditioned, in which the latter is cheaper, faster, and breath-taking because of the speed (haha!). One will know the route of the bus by reading the cardboard display of places it will drive by or by listening to the conductor shouting the places like “Alabang! Cubao Cubao! Ayala! Boni!”


Getting inside the bus is usually a race. It will stop to wait for people to get in or get off, but it won’t wait properly. You have to be fast because it might be moving a little while you’re getting in or off the bus. Once you get in, most of the time, you would also need to find a seat while the bus is moving. If you can’t find a seat, it’s usually because the bus is crowded and you have to squeeze your way in and out of the bus while standing in the middle. Even the conductor has to squeeze his way through.

Now who is the Conductor I keep saying? There are two bus “staffs”: 1) Driver 2) Conductor. He is the guy who will get your payment in exchange for a ticket. He is also the guy who will call passengers in the bus like the example earlier. And he is also the guy who will shout to inform the bus stop so that people who would need to get down can get down.

bus 2

Bus Conductor

Sometimes, due to the fast pace again of the bus in which passengers have to be quick in getting in and getting off, the Conductor is also the guy who will inform the driver that somebody is still at the door getting off or getting in, either by tapping the bus or shouting at the driver so that he hears (not shouting angrily by the way). Conductors are also experts in dealing with bus motions. Again, buses are fast most of the time, and Conductors are masters at standing up, taking your payment, giving you a ticket, squeezing, getting in and out of the bus, all while the bus is moving.

And that’s it for now! I hope you learned something, because I did. haha!
Thanks for reading!



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