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Commuters hit MMDA on free bus rid

Traffic enforcers escort a point-to-point bus during a dry run of the service on EDSA yesterday. The P2P system aims to offer an alternative mode of transport to MRT passengers who are inconvenienced by the rail system’s constant breakdowns. MICHAEL VARCAS

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) received flak from commuters yesterday after its free bus ride for Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) commuters caused traffic on EDSA.

Josephine Zomil, who was riding a public utility bus, said she was annoyed by the dry run of the MMDA’s Kalayaan Ride after Land Transportation Office personnel made them give way to the MMDA buses, whose driver repeatedly switched lanes.

But as far as MMDA assistant general manager for operations Jojo Garcia is concerned, he said the dry run was a success after they ferried 161 commuters from North Avenue to Ayala Avenue stations in 75 minutes. 

“We are doing this so people would know they have the option to ride a bus,” he said in a press conference. 

The MMDA’s free bus ride for MRT-3 commuters will officially start operating today, with the fares equal to those set by the rail line, Garcia said.

From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., the buses will pick up commuters at the North Avenue station and drop them off at the Ortigas and Ayala Avenue stations. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the buses would pick up commuters from the Taft Avenue station and drop them off at the Ayala Avenue and North Avenue stations.

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Transport Undersecretary Cesar Chavez said the buses will be deployed until May 2018, or until the MRT-3’s glitches are addressed.

MRT-3 commuters were told to get off the trains twice yesterday afternoon due to unspecified technical problems at the Shaw Boulevard and Guadalupe stations.

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