Claire Jiao | CNN Philippines | November 9, 2017
The test run of the government's new point-to-point (P2P) bus service, meant to lessen lines at the troubled Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3), failed on Thursday to meet its target travel time.
The buses are part of a new scheme, which will start on Friday, to help commuters who are unable to ride the MRT-3 during rush hours.
The move came after Transportation Undersecretary for Rail Cesar Chavez said on Tuesday that the government will deploy fewer train sets on the MRT-3 so that commuters do not experience many breakdowns.
Despite the lights and sirens of escorting patrol cars of the Land Transportation Office, the buses took one hour and 15 minutes to get from Quezon City to Makati, more than double the government's 30-minute target.
The convoy was slowed down by heavy Thursday morning traffic on EDSA, with private vehicles still using the "yellow lane," which is exclusively for public-utility vehicles.
Despite failing to meet its target, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said the P2P's dry run, which had over 100 passengers in four buses, was a success.
"Hindi naman tayo nakikipagkumpitensiya sa bilis ng MRT," said MMDA Spokesperson Celine Pialago. "Ang amin, mabawasan yung sobrang daming pasahero na sobrang tagal na pinipila sa MRT."
[Translation: We're not trying to compete with the MRT's speed. What we want is to reduce the number of passengers who have to wait in line a long time for the MRT.]
Transport authorities said they will study how to improve the P2P system before they roll it out on Friday.
Under the scheme, passengers on their morning commute can take the P2P buses from North Avenue in Quezon City. The buses will then drop off passengers in Ortigas before heading to the endpoint in Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
In the evening, commuters can board the buses at two separate pick-up points — one in Taft Avenue in Pasay City and the other in Ayala Avenue — before heading straight to North Avenue without any stops.
Pialago said the government will deploy 24 buses, four of which will have no fare.
The remaining 20 P2P buses with fare will charge ₱24 a ride, which costs as much as the MRT for those routes.