Still few takers of bus service offered to MRT riders
Almost two weeks after transport authorities launched the point-to-point (P2P) bus service as an option for rush-hour commuters who regularly take the glitch-prone Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3), only a third of the 30 buses intended for this purpose have been in operation.
On Tuesday morning, only six private buses and four others provided by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) served riders going to Makati from Quezon City. This was half of the 20 buses expected to be deployed for southbound commuters in the morning.
On Monday afternoon, only six buses were deployed for northbound commuters in Taft Avenue and Ayala Avenue.
The MMDA on Tuesday explained that only a small number of buses were being dispatched because of the low ridership observed during the first few days, as most commuters still preferred to take the MRT despite the long queues, overcrowded coaches and recurring breakdowns due to technical problems.
Jojo Garcia, the MMDA assistant general manager for planning, said the public should “trust” the bus service since it could bring them to their destination in almost the same time as the MRT. The buses wait for passengers at North Avenue, Ayala and Taft stations.
On Tuesday, for example, commuters were able to reach Ayala from North Avenue station in just an hour, Garcia said.
On average, the same trip on the MRT-3 could take one around 35 to 40 minutes. But due to the long queues, commuters spend at least 30 more minutes waiting at the station.
But Garcia hoped that commuters would be finally enticed to take the bus service—which charges the same fare as the MRT’s—with the stricter implementation of the lane restrictions that can speed up traffic flow on Edsa.
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