Traffic > Appraisal

7 more Metro Manila ticket traps to be aware of

Steer clear of these areas

Another day, another set of ticket traps to be discovered. PHOTO BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

It seems only two things are infinite: the universe and the number of ticket traps in Metro Manila. That’s if the countless comments we receive every time we post about the topic are anything to go by.

You recently pointed out yet more spots in the metropolis where violation tickets are seemingly raining down on motorists, and we did the rest. That is, we went and checked them out. The results are listed below. Here are seven more spots where you need to be extra careful.

But first, the usual disclaimer: In no way are we suggesting that the distinguished officers and other traffic professionals tasked with enforcing law and order on our roads are doing anything wrong or deliberately entrapping motorists.

The locations and the scenarios detailed below are simply meant to inform readers about areas in the nation’s capital where motorists should be extra careful due to road signage or traffic patterns that may be different or unfamiliar.

Now, let’s get right into it. Just like last time, I’m afraid to say that Manila City once again features prominently here. The LGU should really investigate this, as it feels like no other metro city is being mentioned more often.

Worn road markings make Recto Avenue one of these ticket traps to watch out for. PHOTOS BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

Recto Avenue LRT2 U-turn slot. According to comments we have seen, people reported being pulled over for going straight in the leftmost lane with the explanation being that this lane is for U-turns only.

A visit to the location showed that the two lanes on the left clearly have arrows indicating you can go straight here, and there are no other roadside signs saying the left lane is for U-turns only. So, if someone was indeed pulled over for this alleged violation, then any ticket should be contested.

While on location, we did indeed witness numerous cars being pulled over, but it didn’t look like it was for going straight in the left lane.

In fact, we’re not quite sure why they were pulled over, and we suspect they may have been accused of swerving in an attempt to avoid the leftmost lane. As we know from the MMDA itself, swerving is not a violation per se, and as the road markings in the area are worn and unclear, any such ticket should probably also be contested. In any case, be extra careful in this area as enforcers seem to be very active here.

Be wary when stopping too close to the intersection. PHOTOS BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

Jones Bridge into Binondo. Driving toward Binondo and coming down Jones Bridge, there’s a traffic light at the junction near the arch. The story goes that drivers are being apprehended here for stopping too far into the junction when the first light is red.

An on-site visit concluded that this whole junction seems like a giant mess, and could really benefit from a redesign.

For starters, there’s indeed no visible stop line at the first traffic light, so how are drivers supposed to know where to stop?

Some might then argue that motorists should at least stop before the yellow box that’s there, but (A) that is very faded and needs repainting, and (B) there is literally a sign saying “ON RED STOP HERE” right next to the yellow box and in front of the second traffic light. Meaning they want you to stop where the rules of the road say you are not allowed to.

It feels as if you almost can’t win on this one no matter what you do. We did see multiple cars being stopped by an enforcer there, but in fairness to him, the ones we saw all were left off with a warning. City hall needs to look at this, as this setup is not in any rule book I’ve ever seen.

It's a bit unclear what's wrong with Binondo Church, but a lot get pulled over here frequently. PHOTOS BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

Binondo Church. We’re staying in Binondo for our next spot. Readers reported that loads of cars were being pulled over in the area in front of Binondo Church.

A quick research glance at Google Street View indicated that they might be on to something, so we went for a look. Of all the spots we have visited so far, nowhere have we seen more cars being pulled over in a shorter period of time than here.

It seems to be almost nonstop, and the reasons are at the very least unclear to the casual onlooker. Some said this is due to swerving, but we didn’t see any dangerous driving or any NO SWERVING signs. Plus, as mentioned above, swerving itself is not a violation.

Whatever it is, this is certainly an area where you need to keep your wits about you, and maybe Manila City Hall could clarify what’s going on here. Someone commented why enforcers are giving tickets instead of helping motorists, and we are inclined to agree.

If the road layout is so confusing here, wouldn’t it be better to try and improve it rather than hit people with tickets?

Damaged road signs make Abad Santos confusing to navigate. PHOTOS BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

Abad Santos Avenue. We’re staying in the same area for the next location, which is just down the road. Numerous readers mentioned Abad Santos Avenue, with its junctions with Padre Algue Street and Mayhaligue Street being pointed out to us.

The one place that seemed most chaotic on Abad Santos, however, was its junction with Soler Street. Many of the road signs on the approach to it are damaged or outright illegible, which when combined with the usual busy nature of Tondo’s roads can mean an easy violation if you get something wrong.

We also spotted enforcers at this junction as well as further down, so please be extra vigilant to stick to your lane and know where you can and cannot go when driving around there.

Again, a case of no clear road markings or signs in this area. PHOTOS BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

Quirino corner Osmeña Highway. This one got a few mentions, and seems to have caught out a fair number of people over time.

When you’re traveling on Quirino Avenue, it’s the left-turn lanes toward Osmeña Highway you need to be careful about. There appear to be no clear road markings or signs on which lanes must turn left—and which ones can go straight.

This seems to have led to numerous drivers being stopped for going straight, including some using the third lane (or assumed lane, seeing as there are no markings). With no clear signage, it’s hard to tell what the correct procedure is supposed to be here, so be extra careful.

Be careful when turning at this junction due to vague road markings. PHOTOS BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

Zobel Roxas and Pablo Ocampo Street corner South Superhighway. This one is a double whammy, and triggered some memories when I saw it being mentioned. Cars turning right onto South Superhighway from Ocampo or left onto it from Zobel Roxas are at risk of being pulled over for swerving or lane violations.

Seeing it mentioned in the Facebook comments reminded me that we were once pulled over here when we turned left from Zobel. I remember the enforcer being rude when we challenged him, and we eventually drove off without a ticket—likely thanks to our dashcam.

There are hardly any road markings on either of the junctions, and one really must wonder what is being gained by pulling cars over here when things are so unclear. In any case, be careful when turning right from Ocampo or left from Zobel.

Stay in the right lane on Victorino Mapa to avoid being pulled over. PHOTOS BY FRANK SCHUENGEL

Victorino Mapa Street corner Magsaysay Boulevard. Last but not least, another junction that I have heard about in the past, and that our readers also highlighted repeatedly.

Lane violation seem to be the primary reason for being stopped here, so be extra careful that you’re in the right lane or risk being stopped by enforcers who appear to permanently man this junction.

The same lesson goes for the junction of V. Mapa and Old Santa Mesa a bit further up—another spot that was mentioned over and over. If you’re unfamiliar with the area and find yourself in the wrong lane, don’t try and change at the last second or you’ll almost certainly get pulled over.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.