Guide to Living in Cebu: How to get around the Metro

How to get around the Metro

Getting around Cebu is easy, fun, and can be a bit of an adventure. There are several options of traversing the bustling streets of Cebu and getting to places in nearby cities, including renting private transportation services, but the least expensive choice that will give you the most authentic local experience would be to go for public transportation vehicles. In this guide, we have compiled a list of the most common local transportation options available.

No. 1 – Pedicab

Travelling by leg power

Pedicab
Photo Credit:PINTEREST

The pedicabs are common transportation options in the small streets of the Philippines. These are bicycle rickshaws that have a passenger cab and cover, usually these have colorful umbrellas too. Although they are banned from traversing major roads and highways, these pedicabs, more known locally as “sikad”, cover the smaller roads in communities and can take passengers straight home. The pedicabs can carry two to three passengers at a time. They can be found waiting around corners of community streets and public markets, waiting for their next passenger. Riding a pedicab may take you on a bumpy ride but it will give you one of the most authentic local experience.

  • Pros:They can take passengers along more complex routes and smaller streets
  • Cons:These rickshaws are powered by foot, travel time can be pretty slow
  • Fare Starts At:PhP5.00
  • References:Wikipedia – Cycle Rickshaw

No. 2 – Tricycle

The city’s motorcycle powered minibus

Tricycle
Photo Credit:PINTEREST

Tricycles are an evolution of the pedicab. These are similar in functionality, that the tricycles are able to get into smaller streets in local communities, and they are hooked to passenger cabs. The tricycles are, however, powered by a motorized bike. The tricycles, as a means of public transportation have passenger terminals and follow a specific route and can drop off and pick up passengers along that route. Once can also opt to hire the tricycle for private transport, which means it will take the passenger directly to his/her destination and will not pick up any other passengers. The tricycle design may vary across different areas and so does the seating capacity. Usually, they can carry anywhere around 4-6 passengers at a time. These vehicles are one of the most convenient means of public transportation within Cebu’s local communities.

  • Pros:Like the pedicab, the tricycles can cover smaller routes
  • Cons:When on a route, and filled with passengers the cab can get pretty crammed
  • Fare Starts At:PhP8.00
  • References:Wikipedia – Motorized Tricycle

No. 3 – Jeepney

The country’s national means of transportation

Jeepney
Photo Credit:bworldonline.com

The Philippine jeepney is iconic to the country’s culture and history. It has become embedded in the day to day lives of the Filipino people. Originating from the World War II surplus Jeeps from the United States, the now ubiquitous means of public transport is called the king of the streets in metropolitan areas in the country. The jeepney is considered to be a minibus with specific terminals and routes that you see in the front sign boards. Nowadays, the jeepney has evolved to include an air-conditioned version especially in Metro Manila where the climate can get really cumbersome during commute. In Cebu, the jeepney has a very unique feature. The jeeps you see here in Cebu have number codes that signify their routes and terminal stops, mostly the jeepney terminals are adjacent to major malls in the city. The seating capacity of the jeepneys can range from 16 to 20 passengers. In far-flung provinces,the jeepney drivers maximize the space by putting mini benches for additional seating in the middle aisle, and sometimes you see passengers on the top rack of the jeepney roof, especially is it’s that specific route’s last trip schedule. Most tourists include riding a jeepney on their Philippine vacation bucket list. When you hit the city streets of Cebu, you’ll see jeepneys by the dozen with their colorful designs.

  • Pros:Cheapest mode of public transportation
  • Cons:When filled at maximum capacity, it gets really cramped
  • Fare Starts At:PhP8.00
  • References:Wikipedia – Jeepney

No. 4 – MyBus

Most convenient and relaxing way to get to major city malls

MyBus
Photo Credit:CEBU DAILY NEWS

The MyBus is one of the few bus lines that serve the public in Metro Cebu. Given that streets in the city are not as wide compared to Manila, you won’t see a lot of city buses going around. Luckily, MyBus was allowed to open routes along the South Road Properties coastal highway and North Reclamation highway up until the Mactan International Airport. The bus liner follows a certain schedule, apart from the destined routes, and you may embark at certain stops. It is advisable to purchase a reloadable prepaid bus card for ease of paying. With terminals in major malls in the city and the airport, this mode of transportation has given Cebu commuters a truly convenient ride option.

  • Pros:Will give you that Japan bus ride vibe
  • Cons:Limited routes
  • Fare Starts At:PhP25.00
  • References:MyBus Website

No. 5 – KMK Bus

Southern Cebu’s Metropolitan bus line

KMK Bus
Photo Credit:FLICKR

Cebu KMK bus is another bus liner that services commuters who are southbound. The passengers usually go to and from Talisay, Minglanilla, and Naga which are all neighbor cities of Cebu in the south. In the Metro, the bus terminal is at SM City Cebu and the route traverse the city highway instead of the coastal access. Like other bus liners, KMK bus follows specific routes and schedule (departure interval time). This transit type has ordinary and air-conditioned options and the fare price will vary on distance of your bus stop and transit type. Being one of the oldest public utility vehicles in the city, KMK has garnered popularity for its reliability and convenience.

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2019.09.11
  • Pros:Great transportation option for those going to and from the south
  • Cons:Their vehicles are mostly old surplus buses and are dated
  • Fare Starts At:PhP25.00
  • References:KMK Facebook Page

No. 6 – Beep

Cebu City’s newest mass transportation option

Beep
Photo Credit:CEBU DAILY NEWS

The Beep (Bus-Jeep) is one of the newest and most modern means of mass public transportation in Cebu. This started as one of the projects of the city’s local government unit as a solution to the traffic congestion in the city. This is commissioned to a private bus line operator who now have over 30 units traversing the city streets. These blue (and now includes white) colored mini buses are available on specific routes round the clock which provides a safe riding option for commuters who travel in the wee hours of the morning, specifically those who work at call centers. The beeps have a seating capacity of 20-30 and are energy efficient, which translates to a convenient yet cost-effective means of transit for the people in Cebu.

No. 7 – Habal-Habal (Motorcycle Taxi)

Fastest way to get around the city

Habal-Habal
Photo Credit:SUNSTAR

The habal-habal, or motorcycle taxi, has become ubiquitous in Cebu City in the most recent years due to traffic congestion issues in the metro. Although most of these motorcycle taxis are individually and privately owned, the ride sharing app “Angkas” was born into existence that allows habal-habal passengers to book these bikes via their mobile devices. The motorcycle taxis outside of the ride sharing app are considered to be colorum by the Land Transportation Office due to the alleged safety issues these rides pose to passengers. However, the city government of Cebu lobbies to keep these habal-habals consistently available for commuters since the two-wheeler vehicles do give a faster and convenient means of transportation for local commuters especially during rush hour. These motorcycle taxis also give ease to commuters who are in more remote areas of the city (mountain barangays) and can cover the narrowest paths.

  • Pros:Motorcycle taxis can easily sew through heavy traffic
  • Cons:It can be relatively “unsafe” given the nature of the motor bike
  • Fare Starts At:PhP20.00
  • References:Cebu Daily News

No. 8 – Taxi Cab

One of the oldest and most reliable travel options in the city

Taxi Cab
Photo Credit:CEBU DAILY NEWS

Taxi Cabs are the most effortless transit option for getting around Cebu. The number of taxi operators and units have mushroomed significantly Local city taxis can be cheaper compared to Grab car services. Taxi lanes can be found in the vicinity of major malls and these cabs are relatively easy to catch when you’re on major roads and highways. The seating capacity of taxi cabs are 4 passengers max, including children. One specific tip we have for tourists is to be wary of taxi drivers who will hustle you into paying more than what you ought to or make pricing arrangements outside of the metered fare. Always ask for the meter to be turned on especially if your destination is just within the city limits. You may opt to hire these taxi cabs for out of town trips and a fare and gasoline fee arrangement would be fair depending on the distance you wish to travel. Putting their areas for improvements aside, taxi cabs offer fast, simple and straightforward means of traveling especially if you have baggages or you are traveling with small children.

  • Pros:Direct point to point transit option and fully air-conditioned
  • Cons:Considered to be the more expensive transit option
  • Fare Starts At:PhP40.00
  • References:Lonely Planet

No. 9 – V-hire

Making travels to neighboring cities is easy-peasy

V-hire
Photo Credit:DESKGRAM

Vans for hire or V-hires are private vans that are converted for mass public transportation with intercity routes. Usually, they travel longer distances and cover stops in certain provinces in Cebu island. However, there are v-hires that cover shorter distances, reaching nearer neighboring cities and municipalities. Passengers would opt to ride a v-hire if they want a faster travel time in an air-conditioned vehicle. The seating capacity of these v-hires range from 12-16 passengers and have terminals in major malls. The destinations of the short distance v-hire are Danao City in the north, Mactan Island, and Naga City in the south.

No. 10 – Ferry Service

Fastest inter-island transport

Ferry Service
Photo Credit:SUNSTAR

Lapu-lapu city’s ferry service from Cebu City is a great transportation option between these neighboring islands if you wish to skip the congested roads and bridges connecting these cities. These ferries can carry up to 325 passengers to and from Lapu-lapu city, where there are plenty of tourist sights and stops. With an average travel time of 30 to 45 minutes, these ferry boats offer a faster inter-island travel, especially during peak traffic hours that can take over an hour of travel time. It can also be a fun experience to traverse the Mactan channel via these ferries and see the cityscape of both Cebu City and Lapu-lapu city.

  • Pros:Faster means to get to Lapu-lapu city
  • Cons:If you have sea sickness, this may not be the transportation option for you
  • Fare Starts At:PhP20.00
  • References:Cebu Daily News

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2019.09.11