Express buses travel faster in same EDSA traffic

(CNN Philippines) Despite worsening traffic in Metro Manila, some commuters who brave Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) every day found an ally in the Express Connect, a newly launched project of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Fifty public utility buses with existing franchises were deployed on Monday (March 23) for the project.

"Traffic was more or less the same, but the ride was more comfortable and there were fewer bus stops," said Mark Legaspi, an Express Connect bus passenger.

Standing is prohibited inside Express Connect 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.

These designated points depend on the buses' assigned routes.

express_route_750x450.png Express Connect buses service three basic routes.  

Express Connect buses service only three routes, two of which ferry passengers from Fairview in Quezon City to Roxas Boulevard in Pasay and back.

Route 1 will take commuters from Fairview to Roxas Boulevard. In between the two destinations, passengers can get off at Commonwealth, Ortigas, Ayala Ave., and Gil Puyat (LRT 1).

Route 2 is similar: Buses under it will skip the drop-off at Ortigas.

Route 3 buses will travel 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.

While the express buses aim to ease daily commute for many, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino urged bus drivers servicing Express Connect routes to be extra careful when driving.

"If drivers are already careful along the yellow lane, (Express Connect) drivers should be thrice as careful because they will be passing through tunnels and flyovers, where accidents would be more difficult to manage should they occur," Tolentino said.

Express Connect buses are allowed to take underpasses and use lanes for other types of vehicles. They can also pass through flyovers.

CNN Philippines' Patricia de Leon took an express bus on Monday and confirmed that travel was indeed faster aboard the Express Connect.

While a normal bus ride from Quezon City to Makati would usually take a little over three hours, it took de Leon two hours and 45 minutes to get to Ayala from Fairview via an Express Connect bus.

Aside from free Wi-Fi, commuters can also look forward to the same fares. A trip from Quezon City to Makati costs about P60 to P70.

Express Connect buses will ply their assigned routes from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Related: Can express buses destress EDSA?

CNN Philippines' Patricia de Leon contributed to this report.