MRT bus project sputters on first test day

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Five airconditioned MRT buses are deployed along EDSA to lessen the number of people riding the MRT from 6am to 9am in the morning, however it has already gathered complaints from commuters since the main reason they ride the MRTs is to avoid heavy traffic specially when riding public buses along Edsa. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Metro Rail Transit’s  test run of a “bus link project” got off to a rough start on Wednesday as three of their five chartered buses were apprehended by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

On Wednesday, the MRT management started the deployment of five Manila Genesis Charters and Tours Inc. buses to decongest the morning rush at the North Avenue train station and lessen the kilometric queues of riders.

But due to a lack of coordination with the MMDA, the southbound buses caused their passengers more hassle than convenience on the pilot day. Three of the five buses were stopped and ticketed for illegally passing the under overpasses. Tarpaulin sheets on their fronts bearing the markings:  DOTC-MRT3 “Do not delay” did not help at all.

The passengers, who used train cards to get on the buses, were to be ferried to MRT stations on Ayala, Magallanes and Taft.

But on Wednesday, after the licenses of the drivers were confiscated by traffic enforcers and the MRT buses forced to face the usual EDSA traffic like the rest of the city’s buses, some disgusted passengers chose to get off at subsequent MRT stations and take their chances with the trains. All the buses, however, were allowed to continue plying their routes for the day.

The MRT management had envisioned their buses as an express service, exempted from regulations governing regular buses such as the ban on passing through underpasses and the strict use of the yellow bus lanes.

Wednesday saw the start of a three-day dry run for the MRT bus line, which will run from 7 to 10 a.m. until Friday, with 15-minute intervals between bus trips. The dry-run is meant to gauge the public reception and the service’s effectiveness.

The MMDA, however, has not issued exemption permits for the dry run.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino told reporters on Wednesday that no prior coordination was done with his office. He said he learned about the project only on Tuesday. “It was so abrupt,” he added.

“We support the MRT in helping find ways to alleviate the plight of the passengers, but buses are not part of the MRT’s mandate. If they deploy buses, they have to comply with the rules,” Tolentino said.

MRT management” should properly coordinate and conduct more studies. The city bus operators might complain of the exemption and might decide to follow suit,” Tolentino warned, adding that current MMDA bus routes and deployment and dispatching systems took months of consultations before they were tested.

He said he will discuss with MRT general-manager Al Vitangcol III the possibility of a “toned down” version of the bus link project. Tolentino also arranged for the participation of bus operators in their meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

In a letter dated March 5 showed that the Department of Transportation and Communications, the mother agency of the MRT, did not fully endorse the MRT’s partnership with Genesis.

“The DOTC is not in a position to endorse a specific entity [Genesis] for the issuance of a special permit,” read the letter sent by Transportation Assistant Secretary Jaime Raphael Feliciano to Vitangcol, a copy of which was furnished to the media.

The letter said the MRTA “may continue with the dry run or pilot of the project” as long as it “ensures that it complies with existing laws and regulations.”

But the letter also warned: “We wish to inform you that, currently, there is a directive from the Office of the President to reduce the number of buses plying Edsa, not add to the existing number.”

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  • kilabot

    as usual, 
    the chaotic noykapon way; 
    don’t you dare expect otherwise.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZWTTKJTI57YO7TZBJC66GA2OLU dennis

    “But due to a lack of coordination with the MMDA, the southbound buses caused their passengers more hassle than convenience on the pilot day. Three of the five buses were stopped and ticketed for illegally passing the under overpasses.”
    This is the defect of Philippine system of implementation…”LACK OF COORDINATION!” Dapat before hand eh pinakakalat na ang balita na may ganitong sasakyan na magba-byahe! Hay naku! COMMON SENSE,VERY UNCOMMON!!! Eh hindi nga tayo uunlad nyan!

    • Juan Delacruz

      mabasa sana ng maynilad to.

    • Rey

      Ang coordination ay pinadaan informally: sa news. Hahaha!

  • KurakotNaPinoy

    Since when did bus drivers follow the “no underpass” rule and the “yellow line” rule.

    Katakot-takot na bus ang nakikita ko na lumalabag dito, at hindi naman hinuhuli.

    May mga suspended franchises nga na bus (Nova) na nakikita ko pa din na nagmamasada.

  • $20926843

    This has been the hallmark of the performance of this present  inconsequential Regime led by its inutile and autistic president which started with the Luneta Hostage drama.  This will continue for the next three years unless the general public will be waken from its slumber and kick this abnormal person out of the malacanang palace premises.

  • Juan Delacruz

    hahahahahaha….. ewan ilipat niyo nga sa prbinsiya ang recto, divisoria,ayala,bgc at ortigas at susunod din ako.

  • disqus_EWrSdjV1nv

    day before binalita na sa news yan. mapapel lang si tolentino.

    gusto lang ng mga bata nyan pera.

    yung mga sumakay sa bus, kelangan makarating sa trabaho.

    may signage na. pwede silang magcoordinate.

    dkelangan maperwisyo ang taong bayan.

  • disqus_EWrSdjV1nv

    ah i forgot. kasalanan ni GMA yan. di sila nagccordinate eh.

  • speedstream2

    Once again, the classic case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. On the other hand, there’s such as thing as getting our act together. How difficult can that be?

  • akramgolteb

    Kumag ka lang talaga Misis Francis Tolentino, yan lang ang paliwanag dyan.

  • PinoyDude

    The incompetence of our government officials is simply unimaginable!

    A lot of our neighbors in SE Asia have a decent bus transport system, even VietNam!

    Why can’t the MMDA or the DOTC nationalize our public transport system like the other governments in Asia are doing.

    For starters, they can bring back the Metro Manila Transit Corporation.

    1. Limit the number of private buses running on EDSA.

    2. Hire their bus drivers as full time workers with a decent monthly salary

    3. Train our bus drivers to improve driving skills and practice road courtesy.

    4. Implement a rapid bus system on EDSA with designated stops like in North EDSA, Cubao, Ayala and so on.

    A lot of our neighbors in SE Asia have a good transport system. Bakit hindi magawa dito?!?!

    I know this is a long shot. Pero napag-iwanan na tayo ng maraming bansa sa Asia.

    • disqus_EWrSdjV1nv

      there used to be a love bus. fare is cheap.

      ask cory aquino why it was removed.

      noynoys answer shall be….”kasalanan ni GMA yan”

  • hustlergalore

    hahahaha

    akala ko noong una, ang plano diyan sa west triangle ay gawing central terminal ng bus at mrt para sa mga norte. anyari? bakit naging trinoma?

    LOL

  • Rey

    “… stopped and ticketed for illegally passing the under overpasses.” What is that?

  • Jeanne Thompson

    Dapat kasi sumasakay ng public transportation ang mga matataas na opisyal dito sa Pilipinas ng  malaman nila kung gaanong pahirap ang trapik sa mga kakalsadan sa Metro Manila.

    Hinde lang dapat sa trasportaion, dapat pati sa edukasyon din. Dapat ang mga anak ng matatas na opisyal ng gobyerna ay mandatory na ienroll ang mga anak nila sa pampublikong paaralan para alam nila talaga ang problema!!!!!!!!

  • kismaytami

    Only in the pathetic Philippines, a train system operating a bus system.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/E5I7ZKIERTX53LGGVMSVMODHSA bentot

    bakit hindi na lang ilagay ang mga bus sa taasng MRT ???!!!!! sa dami ng bus sa edsa sigurado kahit every 30 seconds makakapagpatakbo sila !!!!!! bwahahahahahahahahaha

  • Rogers Nelson Uy

    Kung sino naman ang nagisip ng paraang ito, tanga! BOBO!! Gusto ko matawa pera dahil sa sobrang katangahan nakakainit ng ulo!!

  • Marcos5

    Vitangcol said there were still “a lot of issues that need to be fixed.” Again he stressed that the project was only an experiment to gauge the public’s “riding preference” or what time train riders would be amenable to taking buses.

    Pare-pareho kayong Obobs !! MRT and MMDA. 

    Simple lang yan !

    *Magdagdag Kayo ! ng Bicycle Lanes ! *Bicycle stands sa ilalim ng bawat  MRT stations *Magdagdag kayon ng mga MRT trains.*Mamigay kayo ng libreng 10,000 na Bisikleta para sa commuters.

    At sa sobrang daming sumasakay ng MRT sasabihin nyo na walang Pera ? pambili ng tren ?sino
    kaya ang magaling magnakaw dyan ?  tapos ang Solusyon nyo Bus ? Wow
    naman ang gagaling nyo  talagang mag-isip !   First Class letter  T ! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1114707143 Nick Garcia

    dapat mag karoon ng dedicated MRT train sa North bound, CUBAO, EDSA SHaw at Ayala.. walang stop over grabe nga pila jan lalo n pag monday

  • Albarirex

    naku naman…sino bang magaling sa MRT ang nakapag isip nitong MRT Bus? Akala ko ang bus ay hihilain ng MRT train…( hehehehe ) e sa matrapik palang kalsada idadaan ito…NAKAKADAGDAG LANG KAYO SA MGA BUS AT SA TRAPIK. HOY ! ano ba kayo? GISING !!!!!

  • Albarirex

    DAPAT ANG MGA TICKET NG MRT AY MABIBILI RIN SA MGA GROCERY OR SARI SARI STORE, PARA HINDI NAGSISIKSIKAN ANG MGA PASAHERO BUMILI NG TICKET SA LOOB MISMO NG MRT.  Then ang mananakay tuloy tuloy na lang sa paghulog sa ticket nila doon sa machine..SO WALANG MAHABANG PILA. DO NOT CENTRALIZE THE SELLING OF MRT TICKETS. IKALAT NINYO SA MGA GROCERIES, SA MGA SARI-SARI STORE, KUNG SAAN MAKAKABILI ANG MGA MANANAKAY AT THEIR OWN CONVENIENCE, MGA BOBO ! GAWIN NIYO TULAD SA PREPAID CELL PHONE CARD, KAHIT SAAN NAKAKAPAG LOAD OR NAKAKABILI NG CARD….

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