P2P bus service to expand operations to 2 trips daily
Starting Monday next week, commuters will have more transport options as the point-to-point (P2P) bus service for the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3) expands its operation to two trips during the morning rush hour and adds an evening service for northbound passengers.
To ensure that there would be enough buses to accommodate passengers, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) met with city and provincial bus operators on Wednesday afternoon to get their commitment that they would provide at least 60 buses for the MRT 3 P2P bus project.
Currently, transport authorities rely only on operators to volunteer their units for the bus project. But such a setup limits the number of passengers that can be accommodated by the service.
According to TJ Batan, the Transportation undersecretary for rails, by guaranteeing 60 P2P buses at least 3,360 passengers can be assured that they can get to their destination conveniently and on time.
During the morning rush hour, the escorted buses will still pick up MRT passengers at the North Avenue and Quezon Avenue stations.
However, this time all of the 60 buses will be required to make a second trip so that more passengers can avail themselves of the service.
Batan said that for faster turnaround, the buses will have to leave for Quezon City empty.
To compensate bus operators, the government will allow their buses to ply their routes once the morning bus service has ended, even if these buses are banned on the road due to the number coding scheme.
To avoid apprehension, the participating buses should ensure that the signage provided by the government is prominently placed on their windshield.
For the evening rush hour, Batan said that the buses will be deployed for MRT passengers at Taft Avenue and Ayala Avenue.
Due to lack of space along Taft Avenue, Batan said they are looking at Macapagal Avenue as a possible staging area. On Ayala Avenue, the loading area will be the current bus stop along Edsa.
The northbound buses will drop off passengers at Shaw Boulevard, Cubao and North Avenue. The fare would remain the same at P15.
Since the provincial buses that will participate in the project cannot ply their routes for the day, the DOTr will have to subsidize P9 for each passenger. This means that on each trip of the 45-seater provincial bus, the government will have to shell out P405.
Batan said that expenses incurred for the project would be charged to the MRT 3’s operations budget. He added that, depending on the condition of the trains and the need for the buses, the service would remain in effect until April.
Since the start of the month, 28,825 MRT riders have availed themselves of the bus service.
Its expansion comes as the operations of the country’s busiest train system continue to deteriorate.
On Wednesday, only eight trains were in operation, half of the required 15 trains.
The DOTr expects that it would be able to add more trains in the coming weeks as the first batch of spare parts to maintain the trains arrive this week. /atm