Hybrid buses make commuting in Makati City fun

I never thought I’ll get excited talking about a bus service, but well I am. To give you an idea, let me bring you up to speed.

My sister and I was able to take a picture of this Bus in downtown Seoul:

A bus in Seoul plying near the King Sedong monument and near the Seoul Police Station
A bus in Seoul plying near the King Sedong monument and near the Seoul Police Station

Here’s a bus in Taipei. I took this shot while walking in front of Taipei City Hall, going to Taipei 101.

Bus plying the City Hall route in  Taipei, Taiwan
Bus plying the City Hall route in Taipei, Taiwan

Of course, who ca forget the double-decker buses of Hong Kong and Singapore? These two are perfect examples of form and function.

Aside from the fact that these buses are clean, with designated seats for senior citizens, the handicapped and even a place for luggage and shopping bags, the drivers are courteous and they only stop of designated bus stops.

This makes me sad, especially when I see these big buses in EDSA stopping in the middle of the road like as if they owned it. After university, I try to stay away from riding public buses here in Manila as much as I can — more often than not, you and your fellow passengers were packed like sardines, inhaling air mixed with the sweat and body odor of forty more individuals. If you are indeed unlucky, the only PUB available is a rickety, old thing careening down EDSA as if the driver is at Motor Speedway. To put it bluntly, riding a bus in Manila is not as comfortable and secure compared to riding like, for example, a bus bound for Yehliu in Taipei or even the usual A11 buses that ply Kowloon from the airport.

In my head, why can’t we have buses that look good, smelled good and definitely followed proper stop signs? Why can’t our country have a transport system where you swipe a card and you’re good to go, no need for bus tickets and loose change. As one of the emerging economies in Asia, don’t you think it’s time to say goodbye to the rickety old buses with the traditional (read: dangerous and usually unlawful driving on main thoroughfares) way of doing things?

So, imagine my delight when I started reading about the Green Frog Hybrid Bus (read here and here). Finally, a bus service that belonged to the developing world!

Hybrid Bus in Makati (photo not mine)
Hybrid Bus in Makati (photo not mine)

And like a yummy cherry on top — one of the bus stops is just right outside my office building. Fare is just PHP20 (less than USD.50) for a flat rate, meaning from Taft Avenue in Manila to C5 which is the last leg and just a few blocks away from my office. If you avail of the bus swipe card, your fare will be further reduced to PHP15.

Aside from the famous e-Jeeps that ply the streets of the Central Business District, the Hybrid Buses must be one of the best things that happened to local transportation. Finally, something cool, clean and safe plying the streets. My only wish is that the riding public will get to take care of it — hopefully, no one will graffiti stupid messages on the back of the head rest (“wanted penpal”) or throw their garbage just about everywhere. Sadly, some of my kababayans have a tendency to disregard and treat with indifference the things that will make life easier for us.

According to the Hybrid Facebook page, they will add 6 more buses in the next two months, so the waiting time for the buses will be reduced to 10 to 15 minutes.

I have yet to try one but I am already excited. It’s not everyday that a progressive and brilliant idea like this one comes in the life of us Filipinos.

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