‘Express Connect’ buses off to slow start due to lack of passengers
MANILA, Philippines–Favorable to passengers but a burden to drivers.
This was how Metro transport workers described the “Express Connect” buses—a joint project of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)—which was launched on Monday.
Around 50 Express Connect buses—identifiable through the “E” stickers posted on their windshields—started operating from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, plying just three routes.
They were promoted by the DOTC, MMDA and LTFRB as a faster and more convenient means of transportation as these would have just four to six designated stops, thus reducing travel time by around 20 to 30 minutes.
However, Jay Parisan, the conductor of a 56-seater Express bus plying the Fairview to Ayala route, complained of lack of passengers.
“The biggest number of passengers we had today was during the noontime rush hour. We had only 20 passengers on the way to Ayala, then just one on the way back,” he said.
Fewer passengers mean a drastic cut in his income, he told the Inquirer, adding, “I usually make P500 to P1,200 per day. Today, my income wouldn’t even reach P300.”
Bus driver Mike Camacho, meanwhile, attributed the lack of passengers to the lack of information dissemination about the Express Connect buses. “Passengers still ride in the buses that they’re used to taking,” he said.
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