The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) finds success in the experimental Express Bus system and is considering the expansion of the program with additional services and is inviting bus operators to shift 10% of their fleet to give commuters more mobility options, reduce traffic and speed up travel time.
According to Robert Siy (Senior Adviser of the Office of the Undersecretary for Planning of the DOTC), Express Buses travel 30 minutes faster than regular buses based on data gathered by the DOTC and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) during the test phase of the program in March.
Siy went as far as saying that the three-hour commute could be reduced to one hour. "That means giving them back two hours of their lives every day. We want to expand that program," said Siy.
The DOTC’s plan is to introduce these additional Express Bus services, Point-to-Point Service with regular and premium variants and the EDSA Limited Stop Service.
Buses providing ‘regular’ Point-to-Point Service will only load and unload at terminals or designated areas like malls or schools. These buses will have climate control, free WiFi, a GPS system, CCTVs and automatic fare collection similar to the system used by the MRT. Riders will be allowed to reserve seats and purchase tickets online or through mobile apps.
‘Premium’ Point-to-Point Service on the other hand are smaller buses with a maximum of four, reclining-type seats per row and should be at least Euro 4 compliant.
The DOTC plans to start these Point-to-Point Service Express Buses by October.
Limited Stop Service buses would operate in a similar manner as existing Express Buses with a specific number of stops along the route
The DOTC is looking to convert 20% of all aircon public utility buses (PUBs) into Limited Stop Service Express Buses within the next six months and expects another 10% to convert after that.
More routes and varied stops will be added to the program in consultation with bus operators.
"We need to go for public transport over private cars," Siy added.