The Green Frog Hybrid Bus is the latest option when you want to travel from Manila to Makati (and vice versa) in a safe and comfortable manner. If you are familiar with the buses the ply Hong Kong and particularly Singapore, then you will be pleasantly surprise to see them (or something that looks like them) plying the streets of Manila.
Launched just recently, Green Frog Buses initially have two buses that travel the LRT-Taft to C5 Kalayaan Makati route. Within the Buendia stretch, there are specially-marked areas where the buses load and unload their passengers.
Due to the limited bus units and Manila’s usual traffic congestion, waiting for the Green Frog Bus can take a long time. For some enterprising commuters, especially those in the CBD area, they resorted to getting the bus’ cellphone numbers which they call to check the location of the bus and to gauge their waiting time. Earlier, during the rush hour travel from C5 Kalayaan to Taft-LRT, the bus conductor answered one call after another — providing commuters with valuable information on the location of the buses.
So what’s the advantage of riding the Green Frog Hybrid Bus:
1. Value for Money – Green Frog has a flat rate, PHP20 for outright cash and PHP15 when you use the Green Frog debit card. The Debit Card can be bought for PHP200 with 10 usable credits (amounting to PHP150) and PHP50 deposit for buying the card. You pay just like how you pay in other countries, by tapping the card against the machine attached near the driver’s seat.
Earlier, I noticed that all the passengers preferred to pay outright in cash than purchase the card. When the card was offered to me by the lady conductor, I told her I will buy when there are already additional units of the Hybrid Bus plying the streets. This way, they’ll have a more definite waiting time for bus arrival and I can maximize usage of the card.
2. Cleanliness – unlike other Manila buses that smelled of sweat, saliva and crude oil, the Hybrid Bus smelled fresh and clean. The driver and the lady conductor was dressed neatly in their uniforms (the green and orange combo shown in the first photo above). Since it was raining very hard, the lady conductor would often wipe the wet areas of the bus with a foot rug. The aircon was also cold so very conducive to traveling especially when you are stuck in traffic.
3. Safety and comfort – seats inside the Hybrid Bus are limited, but the body is wide enough to accommodate those who will stand in the aisles. Entrance is by the front door while exit is exclusively at the middle doors. Doors are kept closed during travel.
4. Courteous staff – Both the conductor and the driver are courteous and very professional. When a heavily-pregnant lady entered the bus, the conductor politely asked a gentleman if the lady can have this seat. The man graciously agreed. The conductor was also very mindful of the passenger’s safety, while the driver was careful but very efficient as he traveled Manila’s wet roads due to the constant raining.
The Green Bus is a good way to see Makati — and the bus stops conveniently connects you to other parts of the city. For example, alighting the Ayala stop would bring you the central business district, the Ayala Museum and Greenbelt Chapel (with one transfers) while the last LRT-Taft is gateway to the Mall of Asia and Baywalk.
Hopefully, the next buses will be here before Christmas (the conductor says they’re due for delivery by September). This is something that the city and the country definitely needs. In fact, I hope Green Frog will consider an airport route. In times like these when airport taxi drivers get you iffy, a safe and comfortable transport going in and out of the airport would be nice.