In an effort to solve the commuting woes of people in the metropolis, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in cooperation with the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) have officially launched ‘Express Connect’ buses that started 5am today and will continue to ply three designated routes for the next two months as a pilot program of the agencies.

The three designated routes are:

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The 50 buses selected to participate in the program come from companies with existing franchises which means no buses were added to the existing ones on the roads.

Equipped with a global positioning system (GPS) and closed circuit television (CCTV) system, these buses will also offer free WiFi on board along with the promise to cut travel time between destinations by at least 30 minutes.

Express Connect buses will only stay for 20 seconds in the few bus stops on its route to load and unload passengers and will be allowed to travel outside the yellow lane, take flyovers, tunnels and will be exempt from the number-coding scheme.

Fares will be similar to the existing fare matrix of air-conditioned buses.

If successful after the two-month period, the transport agencies can either extend or expand the program depending on the need.

“It’s a pilot project. If it is good and people will appreciate it, let’s do it.  We really want this to be a better bus service so that slowly, we upgrade our bus service,” said Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.