MANILA – Pilot testing of the express bus system is set on March 16 to determine its potential benefits to commuters.
The express bus system is a joint project of the MMDA, DOTC, and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to help ease traffic along major thoroughfares particularly during rush hours along the stretch of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA).
The initial run of the new system aims to test its feasibility in easing the commuters’ travel from Fairview to Ayala.
“Based on the study conducted by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), most of the commuters coming from Fairview and Tandang Sora are headed off to Ayala. Therefore, there would be a large number of passengers aiming to go to Ayala,” DOTC Secretary Emilio Abaya said after a meeting with MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Winston Ginez.
Abaya said 50 express buses will be deployed on March 16 in Quezon City, Mandaluyong, and Makati.
Abaya said the express buses will run two initial routes, which is from Fairview to Ayala and from Fairview to Ortigas. These destinations were chosen because many people are working in these areas.
Abaya said these buses will use the MMDA bus stops to ensure the safety of passengers.
Unlike the regular bus system with 25 bus stops each for southbound and northbound from Mall of Asia (MoA) to Manila Central University (MCU), the segregation scheme of this new bus system will only have 15 bus stops each for southbound and northbound from Kamuning to Magallanes.
“The Metro Rail Transit (MRT) stops at every station. But in this new system, buses will go straight from Fairview, or from Tandang Sora to Ayala, without stopping. Therefore, the new system will consume lesser commuting time,” Abaya explained.
Abaya added that the buses will observe time and schedules in conducting continuous travels.
He added that they will make use of MMDA dispatch stations to serve as terminals for these buses. They will be exempted from coding and will not travel along the yellow lane which is used for picking up passengers.
According to the DOTC Chief, bus fare will remain the same for the pilot test since they will be applying the same formula for every kilometer.
Abaya concluded that if the pilot test proves to be good and people will appreciate it, they would push for the implementation of the system.
A total of fifty express buses, converted from non-express, are set to travel from Fairview to Ayala and Fairview to Ortigas for the initial test of the new system.
For his part, Tolentino said the express buses will be allowed to use the underpasses along EDSA and will be exempted from number coding to reach their destinations on time.
Tolentino said the new bus system aims to lessen the volume of vehicles along EDSA by encouraging employees to leave their cars at home and take the bus to work.
Tolentino said the express buses should have a designated color for identification.
The MMDA said travel time from Fairview in Quezon City to Ayala in Makati is expected to be cut down by 30 minutes from a regular two-hour travel time.
Meanwhile, Ginez said they had already tapped around 15 bus companies for the project.
Ginez said the express buses will not add to traffic congestion because they have existing franchises.