By Anna Liza Villas-Alavaren
Starting Friday, the government will field 30 point-to-point buses during peak hours to ferry passengers of the troubled Metro Rail Transit 3 which is now running with only 13 trains.
During rush hour from 6-9 a.m., buses will be dispatched at North Avenue and will drop off passengers at Ortigas and Ayala Stations. Each passenger will be charged P20-P24.
From 5-8 p.m., buses will pick up passengers on Taft Avenue and drop them off at North Avenue Station.
Cesar Chavez, Department of Transportation Undersecretary for Rail, acknowledged that passengers prefer to wait for 30 minutes more to board the train than ride buses. “Buses will be escorted by Land Transportation Office (LTO) motorcycle riding enforcers to speed up their travel,” said Chavez.
Buses will have “Alalay sa MRT” signage for easy identification.
During the dry run period, Jojo Garcia, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) assistant general manager for operations, said they will field four buses that will ferry early passengers for a week for free.
Garcia said they will also strictly enforce the yellow lane policy to ensure that no private vehicles would use the yellow lanes which are designated for passenger buses.
Chavez advised passengers to leave their houses 30 minutes earlier than their usual schedule in anticipation of the slow turnaround of trains.
Chavez admitted that the temporary remedy may last for three to six months until the MRT finds a new maintenance provider.
Aileen Lizada, Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTRFB) spokesperson said each bus will carry up to 50 passengers and would accommodate those who want to stand in the aisle.
Chavez said the passenger count in the North Avenue Station is around 71,000 while there are 78,000 in the Taft Avenue Station. MRT 3 has 460,000 passengers daily.
Aside from fewer trains, MRT 3 is also experiencing frequent breakdowns daily due to technical problems.
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