The Metro Manila Development Authority has announced it will open a new route for Express Connect Bus system along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.
MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino said the operation of the route— Mother Ignacia Street in Quezon City to Ayala Avenue in Makati City—will start next week.
The move came after Tolentino met last week officials of the Department of Transportation and Communication who are planning to expand the coverage of the Express Bus project.
The MMDA initially designated three routes for 50 Express Connect buses.
Route 1 takes commuters from Fairview in Quezon City to Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City. In between the two destinations, passengers can get off at Commonwealth, Ortigas, Ayala Ave., and Gil Puyat.
Route 2 takes passengers from Fairview to Roxas Boulevard but the buses will skip the Ortigas drop-off.
Route 3 buses, on the other hand, travels from Fairview to the Mall of Asia. Passengers taking Route 3 can opt to go down at Commonwealth or Ayala (MRT-3 station) as well.
Tolentino admitted that the people initially got confused on the Express Bus because commuters were not familiar with the project. He added there is still a need to determine the viability of the project, particularly the acceptance and patronage of the commuters.
“We have to prove that the project is viable before we talk about expansion,” the MMDA chief said.
The MMDA started the project’s pilot phase on March 23 up to April 23, and exended it for another month. Under the scheme, 50 passenger buses traverse three routes without stopovers, are exempted from the number coding scheme and are allowed to pass through tunnels along the thoroughfare.
The air-conditioned express buses have a designated color or sticker for identification. The buses also have Wi-Fi, Global Positioning System (GPS) and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras.
Express Bus is a project of the MMDA in tandem with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and DOTC. The objectives are to shorten the travel time of commuters, lessen the volume of vehicles, and encourage employees to take buses instead of using their vehicles.
The MMDA tapped 10 bus companies, which have existing franchises, for the project.
Standing is prohibited inside the buses, which helps ensure the safety and comfort of every passenger. Travel time is also lessened because stops at designated drop-off and pick-up points are limited to about 20 seconds.
A trip from Quezon City to Makati costs about P60 to P70; the buses ply their routes between 4 am and 10 pm.