Express bus service in EDSA to start Monday
MANILA, Philippines – The pilot run of the government's express bus service along EDSA will begin on Monday, March 23.
50 buses are set to participate in the initial run of the project, which will carry passengers from Fairview in Quezon City to either the Ayala central business district in Makati City or SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
The Express Connect bus service is a joint project of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
It aims to cut travel time for commuters passing through the busy thoroughfare by making only one stop or two from starting point to destination.
The buses will operate daily starting Monday from 5 am to 9 pm, the DOTC said. Passengers can board the buses from the MMDA's dispatch terminal in Fairview, Quezon City, and at designated terminals.
For the pilot run, the buses will ply three routes:
E1 (20 buses)
Fairview – Megamall/Ortigas area – Ayala Avenue/Buendia (Gil Puyat) Avenue
E2 (10 buses)
Fairview – Ayala
E3 (10 buses)
Fairview – Ayala MRT station – Mall of Asia
The DOTC said it will be monitoring the operations of the bus service over the next two months, and will develop additional routes if the pilot run is successful.
"If appreciated by commuters and if bus operators are likewise supportive, we hope to expand the express bus operations by amending existing franchises and routes, so that bus operators can shift some of their bus units to express service," the agency said.
The DOTC added that under the new scheme, commuters using the express bus to travel from Fairview to Ayala can reduce their travel time by at least 30 minutes.
The buses are also required to offer passengers free WiFi access "so that time spent on the express bus can also be productive or useful time."
The vehicles, which will also be equipped with GPS and CCTV cameras, will be allowed to use underpasses and mixed traffic lanes along EDSA, and will be exempt from the MMDA's number coding scheme.
The LTFRB has released a fare matrix for the express bus service, which is similar to the current fares charged in ordinary air-conditioned buses.
FYI: LTFRB EXPRESS CONNECT SERVICE Fare Matrix for Express Route 1 (Northbound and Southbound) pic.twitter.com/4no4cSx4YE— LTFRB_CHAIRMAN (@LTFRB_Chairman) March 20, 2015
FYI: LTFRB EXPRESS CONNECT SERVICE Fare Matrix for Express Route 2 (Northbound and Southbound) pic.twitter.com/rFLsGW3F1O— LTFRB_CHAIRMAN (@LTFRB_Chairman) March 20, 2015
FYI: LTFRB EXPRESS CONNECT SERVICE Fare Matrix for Express Route 3 (Northbound and Southbound) pic.twitter.com/XL3FohBUKT— LTFRB_CHAIRMAN (@LTFRB_Chairman) March 20, 2015
Transport agencies are hoping that the new bus service would encourage car users to shift to buses and free up congestion along EDSA.
"We hope they will change their perspective when they see that the express buses are able to move many more passengers efficiently, without lingering at each bus stop," DOTC said.
"If we can also show that express buses can help to reduce the number of cars on the road, we will be able to win over the car-using public." – Rappler.com
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