Corporate News

By Imee Charlee C. Delavin,
Senior Reporter

Premium airport bus service adds Manila route

Posted on January 17, 2017

AIRPORT BUS service provider, Ube Express, on Monday launched a new Manila hub to provide another pickup point for commuters wanting to go to and from the three terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Ube Express bus is seen at its terminal in Robinsons Place Manila on Jan. 16. -- IMEE CHARLEE C. DELAVIN
In an interview with reporters on Monday, Ube Express President Garrie A. David said the bus ride from its newest terminal in Robinsons Place Manila will take one and a half hours to NAIA Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

The route will include stops at partner hotels -- Heritage Hotel, Midas Hotel, Hotel Jen, Century Park Hotel, Diamond Hotel, Luneta Hotel, New World Hotel, Pan Pacific Hotel, Bayview Hotel, Manila Pavilion, Manila Hotel and Bayleaf Hotel.

Ube Express buses at the Robinsons Manila terminal will depart at 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m, 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. It charges a flat rate of P300 for a one-way fare.

“We chose this location because we want to service OFWs and tourists in the area who would want to go to the airport. We charge only P300 from here going to the airport, no hassle, you don’t have to negotiate... Currently, we noticed that bulk of our ridership is coming from this area since there’s a lot of seafarers and placement agencies here, so there’s really a demand,” Mr. David said.

The Robinsons Manila route adds to existing Entertainment City route (with stops in SM Corp. Office, Hotel 101, Shell Residences, SMX Convention Centre, Conrad Manila, SM Entertainment Hall, One E-Com Centre and SM Ferry Terminal) to NAIA; Grand Prix route (from Grand Prix Hotel and Victory Liner and Kabayan Hotel in Pasay); Atrium Route (from Networked Hotel, Atrium Hotel and JAM Liner in Buendia; and the Makati central business district which includes stops in Glorietta 4&5, Ascott, Dusit Thani, Prince Plaza II, Holiday Inn, Peninsula, Shangri-La, New World, Jinjiang Inn, Fairmont and Crown Regency to Terminals 1, 2 and 3 of the country’s main gateway.

“40% of our ridership is going to NAIA, while 60% are arrivals,” the chief of the airport bus service provider, operated by Air21, further said.

From 24 units since its launch in Sept. 6, Ube Express targets to bring in 42 Mercedes Benz buses this year to expand its presence in other Metro Manila routes and increase its ridership.

“We are not hitting our numbers yet. There’s as much as 65,000 incoming passengers everyday so there are a lot of requirements. Currently, we service less than 2,000 a day. There’s still a long way to go. Our plan is minimum of 5,000 a day,” Mr. David said.

The company is currently in talks with several other mall operators to forge similar tie-ups, with plans to put up a route from Alabang or the southern Manila area next.

Transportation Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark M. De Leon said airport buses provide a “safe, reliable and convenient transport to the airport.”

“This is more organized. This is more convenient, instead of using the more expensive means of transport to the airport. This new route is really envisioned to provide service to Malate-Ermita area where we saw huge demand from OFWs and tourists alike since there are also many hotels in the area,” Mr. De Leon said.

Ube Express units are equipped with closed-circuit television cameras, global positioning systems, provisions with persons with disabilities and free Internet connection. Passengers can book online and may opt to pay soon using an automated fare collection system which the company is developing.