It is a sad fact, but Metro Manila direly needs not just a unified bus terminal that will house the different bus companies under one roof. It needs a modern terminal that takes into account the technologies present in today’s world. And if you’re a bit cynical, you’ll probably think this is something that’s a pipe dream as far as standards here go.
Fortunately, such a dream can be realized. Most importantly, there is already a living, real example of this in the metropolis. You just have to check out the new bus terminal at Cubao’s Araneta Center.
Known officially as the Araneta BusPort, this bus terminal formally opened last March 15. Don’t let the looks fool you. It is actually a pretty expansive facility, with 17 bus companies at the moment utilizing it as their stop to their respective destinations in the different parts of Southern Luzon, the Visayas, and even up to Mindanao.
The opening of the Araneta BusPort actually signified a return to roots of sorts for the bus terminal since the area was where the original bus terminal was located before it moved to the area of the former Rustan’s Cubao to give way to the construction of Manhattan Heights. This means the Rustan’s site will be shut down anytime soon, especially as construction for what will be the final stage of the Manhattan Garden City project: the construction of Manhattan Plaza on the Rustan’s site.
One thing that is interesting about this new terminal is that it is located right at the ground level of a high-rise residential development in the area, the Manhattan Heights, which is part of Megaworld’s Manhattan Garden project in Araneta Center. While it was bared early on when construction of the towers started that there would be a bus terminal integrated there, it was nice to see the developers actually manage to pull it off rather well in the midst of the skepticism hurled against them. The nice thing about this integration is that it did not, in any way, degrade the building’s premises, contrary to the fears allayed early on. Then again, they really upped the ante as far as designing this terminal is concerned.
Which brings us to the BusPort itself, which is just a delight to step into. It does not feel like what many bus terminals feel like. This one actually feels more like a modern small-scale airport with the air-conditioning and the facilities in place. There is a computerized, unified ticketing counter, a spacious passenger lounge, and even a check-in baggage counter to boot.
With that said, it will be interesting to see how the facility will cope with the influx of passengers this summer, especially on Holy Week period in a couple of weeks or so. We can only hope the facility and its management has made the necessary plans to address this situation. The last thing we want to see is to see it fail to manage the heavy passenger flow, which will be a shame given the innovations and comfort it is offering as a transportation facility.
Along with that, the Urban Roamer hopes that the Araneta Center BusPort will be just the start of having more modern and convenient facilities like this one. The metropolis and the people here badly need such facilities. And these facilities are something we who have long been suffering in commuter hell deserve to have.