MANILA - Authorities on Tuesday designated additional bus stops as commuters faced long lines following the closure of MRT due to the rising number of COVID-19 infections in its workforce.
These are in Makati, Ortigas and Guadalupe where MRT passengers previously alighted.
Leomared Campos, who walked 30 to 45 minutes from Muñoz to North Avenue Station in Quezon City, said point-to-point buses which were previously used to augment the MRT began its operations late.
Campos said he arrived at the station before 5 a.m. hoping to get to to work in Guadalupe by 7 a.m.
"Pagdating namin dito wala pa kaming masakyan, walang MRT. Sinasabi natin kaya walang MRT kasi magkakahawaan ng sakit. Eh ito bang ganitong pila hindi ho ba magkakahawaan ng sakit to? Mauulanan pa, pawis na pawis ang likod namin kalalakad. Edi lalo kaming magkakasakit nyan," he told ABS-CBN News.
(When we arrived here no vehicle was available, there's no MRT. They say they closed the MRT due to possible infections. How about this long line of passengers? We're vulnerable to rain, and we're sweating because of walking too far so we're more prone to illnesses.)
"Kung sinuspend ang MRT, ito sana nag-adapt man lang. Kasi isa lang naman ang sistema nila."
(If they suspended the MRT, the P2P buses should have adapted because they only have 1 system.)
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, however, said the EDSA busway services began its operations at 4 a.m. followed by the P2P buses at 5 a.m.
"Hindi po natin maseserbisyuhan nang todo-todo katulad ng MRT dahil alam naman natin iba ang takbo ng tren at ng bus pero as much as possible po, may maayos na sistema para at least yung mga maaapektuhan po ng pagasasara ng MRT mabigyan natin ng serbisyo," MMDA General manager Jojo Garcia told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(We cannot operate on a full service like the MRT because we know buses and trains have differing speed. But we have a good system in place so we can service those who are affected by the MRT closure.
"Yung main concern natin ay yung health and safety ng ating commuters, second priority yung travel from point A to point B."
(Our main concern are the health and safety of our commuters. Our second priority is their travel to point A to point B.)
There are 90 buses deployed by the MRT bus augmentation service while 150 buses are running for the EDSA busway service, Garcia said.
The MMDA assured the public of "better" services in the coming days.
"Lahat tayo ay nasa (We're all still in the) adjustment period pa. Tomorrow will be better, we learn from the issues we encountered today, as well as from public feedback," MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said.
The line of passengers for P2P buses in EDSA-Taft Station also spanned as ticket sellers implemented stricter measures for non-contact payment by covering their booth with a plastic barrier and wearing head-to-toe personal protective equipment.
Government last month allowed public transportation in phases as more businesses reopened and work resumed following an 11-week shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
--With reports from Lyza Aquino, Jekki Pascual and Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News