MANILA — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will dispatch shuttle services to major malls along EDSA starting 11 p.m. Friday (Dec.5) as part of the agency’s Christmas efforts.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino on Thursday said this measure will complement the adjusted mall operating hours being implemented now and is in response to the concern raised by mall employees and shoppers of the apparent lack of enough public utility vehicles during nighttime, when the MRT is no longer in operation.
Four public utility buses, identifiable by stickers bearing the words “MMDA Christmas Shuttle”, will be dispatched to six major malls to ensure that mall employees and last-minute shoppers will be ferried to their various destinations.
The six malls included in the shuttle service provision are as follows: Starmall, SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, SM Mall of Asia, ETON Centris, and Trinoma Mall.
The MMDA will deploy one dispatcher from the Task Force Takipsilim per participating mall.
Earlier, the MMDA met with several city bus operators to advise them of the scheme wherein initially, four buses per mall will wait for mall employees and shoppers during mall closing time to ensure the mobility of the same with the assistance of the 10 MMDA traffic enforcers posted near the mall areas.
Tolentino said passengers will be charged with the regular fares set by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
“Although the shuttle is not free, it will surely provide convenient and hassle-free travel to the public and mall employees,” he said.
The shuttle service will last until January 5, 2015.
The MMDA’s move came after mall operators agreed to extend their operating schedule by an hour.
The shopping malls’ new operating hours are open at 11 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. started last Nov. 28 up to January 3, 2015.
The MMDA noted that traffic volume usually rises 15 to 20 percent between November and December.
The adjusted operating hours were agreed upon by the mall operators with the MMDA to ease traffic congestion during the holiday season.
On December 24 and 31, malls will open at 12 noon and close at 7 p.m.
On Christmas Day (December 25) and New Year’s Day (January 1), the malls will be open from noon to 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, Tolentino said the agency started the deployment of additional traffic constables in shopping malls along EDSA last Nov. 28, when the new mall operating hours was implemented.
Tolentino said all 15 malls along the stretch of EDSA will get 10 traffic enforcers each and two members from the Task Force Phantom.
The task force is composed of motorcycle traffic enforcers, mall security personnel and members of the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG).
Tolentino said members of the task force will help in alleviating traffic congestion in the vicinity of shopping malls along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA).
The deployed enforcers are tasked to man the traffic flow and ease traffic gridlock in areas near shopping malls.
Tolentino said deputized shopping mall security personnel will also assist the MMDA traffic enforcers in manning the traffic in the area only for the holiday season