More than 55,000 passengers were served by point to point (P2P) buses deployed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to serve as an alternative mode of transportation to the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), the department’s records showed.

DOTr data showed that as of Thursday, 750 buses made 1,009 trips, serving 55,201 passengers, since the MRT-3 bus augmentation project started last Feb. 1.

The P2P buses make two trips in the morning rush hour and one trip in the afternoon rush hour.

For the morning rush hour, buses pick up MRT passengers at the North Avenue and Quezon Avenue stations, but they will now be making a second trip so that more passengers may avail of the service.

During the afternoon rush hour, buses pick up passengers either at Taft Avenue or Ayala Avenue with drop-off points at Shaw, Cubao, and North Avenue stations.

Meanwhile, the number of operating trains in the MRT has increased to nine today, according to its management.

As of 6 p.m., there were operational trains and nine trains running with headway time of 10 minutes.

“Our train availability update of nine running trains means we were able to repair and restore three more LRVs (light rail vehicles), as we were only running with 24 operational LRVs or eight trains in the last few days,” MRT media relations officer Aly Narvaez said in a text message to reporters.

The average ridership of the railway system has reduced to around 260,000 passengers for the first two weeks of February, as eight to nine trains operate daily based on data from the MRT-3.

In 2017, the MRT-3 had an average daily ridership of 463,000 from 20 operating trains. This was later reduced to 15 in order to ensure passenger safety. From 15 working trains by the end of 2017, the MRT has lowered its target to just 10 to 12 trains to accommodate passengers.

The DOTr expects improvement in the MRT operations once the general overhaul of trains is concluded after the Holy Week break and with the increase in the number of running trains due to the arrival of spare parts. (PNA)