Quezon City

Cubao’s Modern Bus Terminal

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.

The first Araneta Center Bus Terminal at the site pre-Manhattan Heights (photo courtesy of _gem_ via Flickr)
The second site of the Araneta Bus Terminal (photo courtesy of Philippine Primer)

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.


  • richard

    This is a too good to be true kind of facility.

    This is entirely the opposite of what the promised as a swift service to travelers. I see a lot of opportunities in the way the facility as a whole was designed. 1. The place is too small to accommodate the huge number of regular customers especially those who want to buy tickets ahead of their travel along with those waiting for their bus on the day of their travel. This results to having the place getting too over crowded. 2. Long lines become inevitable due to lack of counters to service ticket buyers. On a non-peak season this did not ever happen when bus companies themselves manage their booking. Before this, each of the bus companies sell tickets individually so customers know what bus company to buy tickets from, thus, customers need NOT to fall in long lines such as what’s happening now due to limited counters having to cater to too many bus companies. The 6 or 7 ticket counters CANNOT in any way handle the number of customers being serviced by 17 bus companies. I think, the counters should be as many as the bus companies you cater to or at the very least 1 is to 2 ratio. But again this might be hard to realize due to how small the area is which is indicative of poorly thought out project or simply because the location itself too small to cater to the number of passengers that frequent the terminal. Please don’t get me wrong, I like modernization but the success of this should only mean improvement than otherwise.

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