Driving along the roads of Metro Manila even at the comfort of your own car is most often still equated to stress because of the city’s worsening traffic situation. Commuting is no different, since passengers are mostly subjected to long queues as well as congested trains or buses.
This growing problem being faced everyday by Filipino urban dwellers is what the premium point-to-point (P2P) bus service offered by Robinsons Land Corporation, operator of Robinsons Malls chain, is trying to alleviate one route at a time.
Starting with nearly one-year-old Ortigas-Makati and the six-month-old Fairview-Makati routes, commuters and even those who are driving their own cars are satisfied with this alternative mode of transportation for its convenience, safety, and comfort.
Moreover, since it is a point-to-point service, P2P riders find it a quicker mode to commute, and also has a cheap price compared to hiring a taxi or spending money on fuel and parking fees when driving your own car.
According to Darwin Remolayan, RLC’s regional operations manager, the riders of the Ortigas-Makati route grew threefold since its launch in Febuary 2016, while the number of riders of the Fairview-Makati route has already grown seven times since its launch in August 2016.
“So far, the Ortigas-Makati customers are very happy. The demographic is mostly women–about 60% women and 40% men. Among the women, they are the ones who want safety and security. There is no standing in the bus so you get all the privacy you need with the comfort of sitting on a nice chair,” Remolayan told InterAksyon, and added that the P2P buses are also PWD-friendly.
“Most of our male passengers usually drive their cars to work but have realized that there’s big savings that they can get out of using P2P,” he also said.
One of those happy riders is 69-year-old Sol Mamiit, whom InterAksyon met last January 18 during an afternoon commute from Ortigas to Makati.
“(P2P bus service is) very convenient for me because it’s one stop. Before, I used to ride a taxi from Makati to Ortigas however, I sometimes find it unsafe. Sometimes, there are no available taxis so I have to wait for 30 minutes so my time is being wasted. At the same time, it’s more expensive,” she shared.
“My travel time has been shorter. It’s easier because it has no stop overs. There was even a time that it only took me 15 minutes to get to Makati. Sometimes, I take naps during the ride,” she went on, and even added that she found the service safe.
P2P buses are equipped with CCTV, GPS, LED TV, WIFI, as well as reclining seats.
The good news about the undeniable convenience brought by the bus service has been spreading through word-of-mouth. Ryan Ignacio, 36 and Christina Ignacio, 30, who were both enjoying an afternoon Makati-Ortigas trip when InterAksyon approached them, are first time riders of the P2P bus service.
“My brother-in-law recommended the service to us because according to him, the trip is much faster,” Christina said.
Roseann Villegas, RLC’s director for public relations, noted that besides providing convenience to commuters especially their mall-goers, the P2P bus service is “part of the company’s goal to provide additional service to the communities that host its malls.”
“It is the same principle that guides the Lingkod Pinoy Centers, which make various government agencies more accessible to people by locating satellite offices in Robinsons Malls,” she said.
Noting that RLC is among the first to provide the P2P service, Villegas added that they hope to contribute in easing the traffic congestion in Metro Manila, and make commuting a happy experience.
Beneficial to bus drivers
This happy experience does not only benefit the riders but also the drivers. One of them was 46-year-old Joey De Guzman who found himself working more efficiently as a P2P bus driver compared to the time he was hired by a different bus company.
“I used to be so stressed because we are on a commission basis. I’m overworked. Now, since we have a fixed salary, I can relax. My sleep is enough so I can focus more on the road,” De Guzman shared to InterAksyon.
The P2P bus service with routes from Fairview to Makati has a fixed Php 100 one-way fare; while the Ortigas to Makati has a fixed Php 30 one-way fare. Both routes operate from Mondays to Fridays.