MANILA, Philippines – Free WiFi, GPS-equipped, and promises of faster travel time: with these, transport officials are hoping to convince commuters and car owners to consider taking the bus when the EDSA express bus service launches on March 16.
The express bus aims to make travel along the busy thoroughfare faster by making only 4 stops from the terminal to its destination.
The buses will also be allowed to use mixed traffic lanes and underpasses along EDSA.
Around 50 buses are set to be deployed for the pilot run next month.
The bus service will ply these routes:
The buses, however, can only pick up new passengers at each stop if there are seats still available.
According to a DOTC presentation during a meeting between transport agencies and bus operators on Monday, February 16, the new bus service aims to change the mindset that commuting by bus is not desirable.
The presentation noted that travel by bus accounts for only 14% of trips in Metro Manila, compared to 32% by private car.
By lessening the number of stops, the new scheme hopes to encourage car owners to leave their vehicles and take the bus instead.
But more than just providing a faster ride, the service plans to attract passengers by promising safety and security. According to the DOTC presentation, participating buses must be air-conditioned, have CCTV cameras and GPS units installed, and should not be older than 2010 models.
The buses should also offer clean and comfortable seats and free WiFi. Drivers and conductors are required to wear their company uniforms and IDs.
There are also plans to have off-street terminals and stops for the orderly loading and unloading of passengers.
The express bus project, to be launched by the DOTC, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), will make use of buses with existing franchises. Fare rates for the express bus service are still under study. – Rappler.com