SM firm invests Php1-B to field 77 hybrid buses in Metro Cebu by end of November

CEBU CITY, Oct. 9 (PNA) — A subsidiary firm of SM Prime Holdings Inc. will field a fleet of 77 hybrid buses plying four cities in Metro Cebu in time for the opening of the SM Seaside City Cebu at the South Road Properties on Nov. 26.

SM Prime Holdings subsidiary Premier Southern Corp. is investing over Php1 billion for the Metro Rapid Transit System Inc. (MRTSI), which will operate the buses called MyBus in the cities of Talisay, Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.

Marissa Fernan, vice president of SM Prime Holdings, said the buses will not displace jeepney operators and drivers because the buses will take “underserved” routes, including the South Road Properties (SRP) and the coastal road along the reclamation area of Cebu and Mandaue Cities.

Fernan said the buses will also not add to the heavy traffic since these will ply along routes not served by jeepneys.

Each of the airconditioned buses are 12 meters long, with 42 seats and equipped with WiFi, global positioning system and passenger information system, where estimated time of arrival and other information are flashed in monitors inside the bus.

“It’s really a state-of-the-art bus,” said Fernan.

The proposed fares are Php25, Php40 and Php75, depending on the route, but the rates have yet to be approved by the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Passengers will use the e-PLUS card or tap-to-pay cards that can be bought at the SM malls and at the stations.

Sherry Tuvilla, SM regional operations manager, said they plan to put up 18 bus stations from Talisay City to Lapu-Lapu City, with the buses arriving at each station in an interval of about nine minutes.

Among the identified stations are in the SM Seaside City in the SRP, Parkmall in Mandaue City and in the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

Tuvilla said the construction of the first batch of stations will soon start.

Rico Villaluna, MRTSI general manager, said the estimated time of travel from Talisay City to the Mactan Cebu International Airport is 45 minutes. (PNA)