The Metropolitan Development Authority (MMDA), in coordination with the technical working group headed by the Secretary to the Cabinet and traffic czar Jose Rene Almendras, had recently launched the Holiday Express Bus Service along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) to help ease traffic congestion during the Yuletide season.
The Holiday Express Bus would serve commuters from December 5, 2015 to January 6, 2016.
The express buses will have the following pick up points: Trinoma and SM North EDSA in Quezon City, SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City, and transport passengers to Park Square Ayala Center, Glorietta 5, and Park Square Terminal in Makati City; and vice-versa.
The Cabinet Secretary also said that the Holiday Express Bus scheme is part of the government’s short to medium term solution to the worsening traffic problem in EDSA, one of the main arteries for vehicular traffic in the Philippine capital. “It (the scheme) is a way of increasing efficiency of the use of the streets,” Almendras explained.
The bus scheme will travel along a special lane in certain parts of EDSA to reach the target departure time at the terminal and lessen the travel time within less than an hour. The lane will be separated by the orange plastic barriers used during the APEC summit.
Tomorrow DOTC will close one lane of EDSA for exclusive use by Holiday Express Bus
— Arbet Bernardo (@ArbetBernardo) December 6, 2015
During a meeting with officials of the MMDA, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), and the Land Transportation Franchising Board (LTFRB) and local traffic bureaus, Almendras declared that “we want to see a shift in culture from car-riding to bus-riding public… Our intention is to move more people as best and as fast as we can. We want to get our commuters to their destinations in shorter time and with additional options for public transport.”
To guarantee continuous and seamless express bus service, 20 buses will be deployed every day, exempted from the coding scheme and with special permits for the duration of the Holidays according to LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez. In addition, tickets would only be sold according to the seating capacity of the buses and buses would be dispatched from their terminals whether the buses are full or not.
The use of an express bus scheme as a solution to traffic congestion has been in operation in many other countries, including neighboring Indonesia. Since 2004, Jakarta has its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) called TransJakarta, the first of such system in Southeast Asia. It had served an average of 350,000 passengers daily, in a bustling metropolis that counts traffic jams as among its problems.