Pre-paid cards for bus ride, ‘reasonable’ rate for deluxe

By: Michelle Joy L. Padayhag and Aileen Garcia-Yap November 18,2015 - 03:29 AM

No coins or paper bills will be collected from passengers of the new European-built buses, whose P25 to P75 fare rates were recently approved for Metro Cebu by the Land Transportation and Franchising Board.

A tap-to-pay system using pre-paid cards will be introduced to Cebu commuters.

“It bears emphasizing that what is involved here is a new level of service  involving high quality premium buses, a first of its kind in the Metro Cebu Area,” said LTFRB chairman Winston M. Ginez and members of the board in a Nov. 16 order approving fares in four routes through cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.

To get to the Mactan airport, most commuters hail a taxi or ride a private car.

The new bus route, which will operate once a franchise is issued, will cost P25 from Mandaue city or P75 from Talisay City.

Employee Chriselda  Labajo said she recently paid  P310 for a taxi  from her home in barangay Cansojong, Talisay City to the airport a week-long business trip to Manila.

“Most of the time I take a taxi  to the airport because it’s the only public transport available if I want a fast and convenient ride,” Labajo told Cebu Daily News.

If she takes the new MyBus, an air-conditioned 60-foot brand new unit with free WiFi and security cameras on board, she would save P235.

The fleet, which will have 77 units,  has an initial batch  operating on a dry run for SM employees from the SM mall in Cebu city to the soon-to-open Seaside City mall in Talisay city.

The LTFRB order said that opposition papers filed by transport groups “did not directly touch on the proposed fare rates.”

“It is at par and not inferior in category vis-a-vis super deluxe or aircon bus categories which have fare rates presently pegged at P1.80 and P2.25 per kilometer respectively,” said the order.

Ryan Benjamin Yu, president of the Cebu Integrated Transport Cooperative (Citrasco), told CDN the fares were not discussed during the public hearing last October in Cebu City.

“Why are there proposed fares if the franchise is questionable?” Yu said.

Yu expressed operators’  fears that the MyBus fleet would worsen urban traffic and  drive 40 percent of jeepney operators out of business.

Route 1, a  12-kilometer ride from Mandaue to barangay Mambaling in Cebu CIty, costs  P25.

Route 2 from Talisay City to Mambaling (10 kilometers) will cost  P25.

Route 3  includes Talisay City to Mandaue City (19 kilometers) for P40; Talisay to Mambaling (11 kilometers) and Mambaling to Mandaue (8 kilometers) for P25.

Route 4  covers Talisay to Mactan airport  (24 kilometers) for P75; Talisay to Mambaling (11 kilometers) at  P25 and Mambaling to Mandaue (8 kilometers) at P25.

Like the Light Rail Transit in Metro Manila,  SM’s MyBus  will adopt a tap-to-pay card system using the mall’s existing e-Plus Cards as payment for fare.

The e-Plus cards  are being used in SM cinemas and select shops in Cebu.

The reloadable cards were  introduced by SM in 2013 in Manila and later used for transactions in their malls and outlets,  said Sherry Tuvilla, SM Supermalls regional operations manager for Visayas last month.

The machines will be installed in  bus units. Reloading shops will be set up in bus stations that  will be established.

MyBus will be operated by Metro Rapid Transit Services, Inc. (MRTSI), a consortium formed by Jam Liner, Inc., a Manila-based company and SM Prime Holdings, Inc. subsidiary, Premier Southern Corp.

The pending application for a franchise is for ‘developmental routes” .

Tuvilla said these routes don’t have existing public transportation but  have  a high number of daily commuters at 188,000.

She said it is an under-served market and the 77 new buses they will operate can only accommodate 65,000 daily.

Related stories:  A quick look inside MyBus


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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City, E-Plus, Land Transportation and Franchising Board, Lapu-Lapu City, LTFRB, Mandaue City, Metro Cebu, Metro Rapid Transit Services Inc., MyBus, SM, Talisay City

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