By Anna Liza Villas-Alavaren
The number of point-to-point passenger buses (P2P) deployed as an alternative to the glitch-plagued Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 were reduced to 10 from an initial 20 due to low demand.
Four buses provided by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) give free rides while six buses from private bus companies charge a fare.
It turns out that the commuters still prefer taking the MRT than the P2P buses despite the long queues they have to join before one can get to board the train.
The P2P buses are escorted by Highway Patrol Group (HPG) members that “sweep” motorists that will not give way to them. These buses traverse the yellow lanes along Edsa.
Jojo Garcia, MMDA assistant general manager for planning, said it has “become a habit” for Filipinos to ride the MRT daily. Still, he urged commuters to give the P2P buses a try as an alternative to the MRT.
Earlier, the MMDA thumbed down calls for the temporary shutdown of the MRT as this could worsen the traffic flow on Edsa.
Garcia said the stoppage of operations of the MRT 3 would require 10,000 additional buses along Edsa to transport passengers.
“We are talking about 500,000 commuters a day. Where would we get 10,000 additional passenger buses? At present, there are 12,000 buses traversing along Edsa,” said Garcia.
Garcia said it is the Department of Transportation’s call whether there is a need to temporarily shut down MRT’s operations amid the numerous and repeated glitches happening recently. Halting the MRT3 operations would cause monstrous traffic in Metro Manila roads.