Transportation is usually one of the least of concerns people have when living in Davao City, Philippines. One, the traffic situation not as bad as in other metropolises in the country. Two, the cost is low.
That’s because the city may be the largest in the Philippines in terms of land area, but the center is rather small that you don’t have to travel that far to get from one point to another. Unless you’re going beyond the boundaries (towards Tagum in the north or towards Digos in the South,) trips will be short and cheap.
Davao City’s taxi drivers are known for returning exact change when paid a large bill by a passenger. This is in contrast to other Philippine cities where drivers are infamous for their habit of rounding off the final bill to the nearest Php 50’s, or sometimes even to the nearest Php 100’s, (When you ask for change, they’ll give you the “look” and may start cursing.)This doesn’t happen in Davao, except in very isolated cases. Anyhow, it will be wise to pay the driver the exact amount or at least a small bill so the guy need not step out of his taxi and look for change in the middle of the street. This can be an issue if you’re in a hurry, or if you’re dealing with an irate driver.
All taxis in Davao City are air-conditioned and metered, with a flag-down rate of Php 40, going up by Php 2.50 per 350 meters traveled thereafter. From the airport, you may pay from Php 150-200 to to the city center which is where most hotels and mini-hotels are found. As mentioned, the city itself is small, so when you stay within this area, you may be paying around Php 150 at most for each trip.
JeepneysJeepneys are the more common form of transportation in the city compared to taxis, and this is obviously because of the price. A jeepney ride within the city center is going to cost a mere Php 7-8 (prices are dwindling) for the first 4 kilometers, and the fare goes up by Php .50 for each kilometer traveled thereafeter.
If taxi drivers are known for giving exact change, jeepney drivers may not be enjoying the same reputation. But chances are, this is unintentional as too many passengers are paying from time to time – coming from different spots in the city and heading to different locations can be quite cumbersome to track. If you’re taking a jeepney, make sure you tell the driver exactly where you’re getting off and where you boarded the jeep. The best way though is to pay as soon as you get on the vehicle to avoid confusion.
Tricycles are what people take to get from residential areas to the highways where the jeeps and taxis are. A ride would usually be for Php 7, but a higher fare may be agreed on for “exclusive trips” that passengers can arrange with the driver, such as going from one subdivision to another without passing main city roads or highways (where trikes are off-limits.)
An alternative to these tricycles are trisikads or improvised trikes. Trisikad which is a colloquial term for a trike on pedals instead of wheels. “Tri” is taken from “tricycle” and “sikad” is a Visayan term for pedalling (although it can also mean “to kick” in another context.) Taking the trisikad is slightly more expensive than the trike because while it is not powered by gasoline, it’s the driver’s physical effort that is being compensated. This means a trike may cost a few pesos cheaper than a trisikad for the same distance traveled.
Davao City is a busy place just like any other, but its traffic situation is still way better than those of Metro Manila and Cebu. When it comes to transportation, it’s cheap all the same for every point within the Philippines.