MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Thursday said another route will be opened for Express bus service plying along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA).
During a meeting in Makati City, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino announced that the new route for Express Connect Bus system is set to open next week from Mother Ignacia Street in Quezon City to Ayala Avenue in Makati City and vice versa.
However, Tolentino was hesitant to agree on the expansion of bus scheme to other areas in Metro Manila, which was proposed by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), saying the scheme needs further evaluation.
“We have to prove that the project is viable before we talk about expansion,” said Tolentino.
Aside from the viability of the project, he added that they also have to consider its effect to commuters.
He noted that the two-week pilot testing of Fairview-Makati City route has resulted to low turn-out of passengers, according to buses that participated in the express system.
The failure to attract passengers urged MMDA and DOTC to implement improvements in the express bus system for the new Mother Ignacia-Ayala Avenue route.
Around 27 buses, out of the initial 50 Express Connect buses, have been deployed for the pilot run until next week. These buses have a designated color or sticker for identification. It also has features such as Wi-Fi, Global Positioning System (GPS), as well as Closed Circuit Television (CCTV).
The express bus system only makes several 20-second stops at designated drop-off and pick-up points for shorter travel time.
The bus system also aims to lessen the volume of vehicles and encourage people to take buses instead of using their vehicles.
Under the scheme, they also allow buses to use mixed traffic lanes and underpasses along EDSA.
For the meantime, Tolentino also suggested that participating buses plying along EDSA could pick-up stranded MRT commuters between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and they can resume to its ‘express bus service’ afterwards.