Will ‘escorted bus’ option work for MRT riders?
Around 7 a.m. on Thursday, Leo Aguinaldo got into the bus provided by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) as an alternative for commuters regularly taking the glitch-prone Metro Rail Transit 3.
“It’s free (for today) and they told me we will have security escorts to clear the road so I’ll arrive at my destination before 8 a.m.,” Aguinaldo said.
The 45-year-old credit collector from Novaliches, however, was in for a disappointment. Despite being escorted by motorbike-riding personnel from the Land Transportation Office, the bus carrying about 50 passengers still had to inch its way through Edsa’s rush-hour traffic jam and reached MRT Ayala station at 8:30 a.m.—30 minutes longer than Aguinaldo’s usual train ride.
Still, MMDA Assistant General Manager Jojo Garcia described Thursday’s dry-run of the “Kalayaan Ride” project “a success.”
“If I were to grade it, it’s a 7 or 8 out of 10 because travel time was good and many people patronized it,” Garcia said, noting that in similar efforts made in the past, the north-to-south trips on Edsa stretched up to two hours.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday announced that it would provide escorted buses for MRT riders who wish to avoid the long lines in at least three stations—North Avenue, Ayala and Taft—during peak hours.
The MMDA is tapping P2P (Point-to-Point) buses for Kalayaan Ride and expects to move around 6,000 passengers in the morning and afternoon rush hour.
From 6 to 9 a.m., southbound buses picking up passengers at North Avenue will only have two stops at Ortigas (fare at P20) and Ayala (P24).
From 5 to 8 p.m., buses will be on standby at Taft Avenue and Ayala and drop off passengers at North Avenue (fare is P24 to P28).
The DOTr came up with the measure following the termination earlier this week of its maintenance contract with Busan Universal Rail Inc., which the DOTr had cited for “poor performance” and blamed for the recurring malfunctions on the MRT.
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