Thursday, July 16, 2015

Green Frog Bus Review

Just this week I was able to try the Green Frog Bus System, once at 4 pm and one after 5. My first trip was comfortable: I lined up at the hybrid bus stop and was able to take a seat. I paid the exact fare and went down at another stop comfortably.

My second trip was murder.

I already had a feeling of foreboding as the next bus visibly stopped a few meters before the designated hybrid bus stop - at a designated jeepney stop actually-  and picked up a fair amount of passengers before deigning to stop at the designated hybrid stop.

When I got in, it was very crowded: a party of two was seated, squished beside each other in the single front seat. In a few minutes, it got so full out front that the driver used the exit doors to load passengers, and even had the exit doors open, full of passengers, as we were moving. The same thing happened to the doors for entry.

I am a sardine

Above, you will see that the conductor has the door open in a no loading zone, what you will not see is that the bus is moving, albeit slowly. Also to the picture's right is the shadow of a lady who chose to squeeze, standing between the front seat (already shared by two people) and the barrier to the doors.

During rush hours, Green Frog seems to be no better than those unairconditioned provincial buses, albeit much cooler.

I understand that people were desperate to go home, but people were squeezing themselves into places they ought not to fit.

Directly below is a screenshot from inquirer about the Green Frog Ideal:

Commuter Behavior

With regards to commuter behavior, it is obvious that Green Frog commuters have yet to reach the standards espoused by its founder. But, in the same vein, neither did the Green Frog employees: the bus driver should not have stopped outside its designated stops, and the conductor should not have allowed riders to enter through the exit doors.

In the same thread, I do wonder if Green Frog has a maximum number of passengers allowed on a given bus?

I do not think I will be buying a tap card anytime soon, since it seems like there are few benefits, emissions aside, to riding a Green Frog Bus. I hope I do not have to ride in the area anytime soon.


  1. I surmise that your second trip was taken during the afternoon rush hour.

    Have you been to Hong Kong, Singapore or any other large urban city and ridden a bus during rush hour? You might be surprised that they will all be packed to the gills. Everyone wants to get home and they all crowd in. It does not matter whether you are in Beijing or New York. It will all be the same. Why ever made you think that it will be different in Makati?

    If you do not like be crowded during rush hour you have several alternatives. a) wait till after 9pm to ride the bus b) take a cab and pay P40 on flag down c) take your own car and put up with the stress of driving and the best alternative d) take a jeepney that runs the same route as Green Frog... and you will see how bad commuting was in Makati before Green Frog came along.

    Did you miss the 8 cctv's that are in Green Frog buses, and ever wonder why no one gets robbed? Snatchers dare not ride Green Frog buses.
    And yes, you mentioned the aircon, that keeps the bus cold even when packed to the gills.
    Three, you did not have to wait more that 15 minutes for the bus. That's because they maintain (even during rush hour) a 15-20 minute interval. And they do this without the benefit of dedicated bus lanes. Do you realize how difficult this is?
    Four, you brushed off the low polluting like it was nothing, your comment was "emissions aside". Green Frog emits 90% less polluting that an ordinary diesel bus. That means 10 Green Frog buses emissions are equivalent to 1 Edsa bus. So, if all the buses in Metro Manila was like Green Frog buses, our skies would clear up, the air would smell better. That my dear blogger is no minor deal.

    So, instead of being flippant, think about the group of people that have made commuting in Makati up to par if not better that the first world countries.

    1. Let's look at the goals of the Green Frog Transport Corp's goals for mass transportation:

      1. Environment Friendly
      Yes, the fact that Green Frog buses have much less emissions than a regular bus that plies EDSA is quite remarkable. While abstractly, I can appreciate this (and why I did mention it), as a commuter this is not a priority when I have to take mass transportation The 3 other goals Green Frog noted are more of a concern.

      2. Comfortable
      I’m not sure what the bus’ passenger capacity was, but since both doors were open, should I assume that the bus went over this limit? Even if not, a sardine is a sardine – whether in a first world country or not. The causes are manifold, and understandable, but this was one of Green Frog’s named goals and it was the expectation that created the disappointment. It was able to this during the off-peak hours, but not during my second bus ride – and probably not at all during peak hours. During that trip, the comfort level was on par with a normal air-conditioned bus ride in EDSA. On a side note, some buses -mostly abroad in first world countries, but even in local EDSA- refuse entry when they see they have too many passengers.

      3. Safe
      I did see the CCTVs, but no - I did not wonder why no one gets robbed inside the Green Frog. Personally, I’m quite paranoid at securing my belongings. However, CCTVs aren’t much of a crime deterrent – but a way of catching criminals after a crime has occurred. I find overcrowding and having open doors to be better promoters of petty crimes, and I find it unsafe in itself. However, it’s nice to know that nothing has been stolen and it would be interesting to see if it continues.

      4. Reliable

      I’m pretty sure I didn’t wait 20 minutes, and it’s pretty cool that Green Frog was able to do this with only a few buses in the fleet. I was actually considering the fourth option. Unfortunately, I was in the designated bus stop for hybrid buses, but the jeeps wouldn’t stop at my location. The Green Frog bus was kind enough to stop at the jeepney stop though. And allow passengers to enter through the exit doors. The qualities I expected of Green Frog weren’t seen.

      I’m not saying that what Green Frog is trying to do isn’t commendable. In fact, I hope it succeeds. But right now, using Green Frog is still a chaotic and uncomfortable experience, albeit it does seem safer, I guess? My trip was neither dignified and humane and I’d very much rather not experience it again. At this point, if I had a choice, I would still prefer to wait until 9 pm than ride the Green Frog during rush hour.