A good old friend of mine I saw over the weekend at a colleague’s birthday party asked me a very simple question: how do I get to Eastwood City in Libis? Answering her (I mean really guiding her) would have taken some time a year and a half ago, when the only way to get there using public transportation was through the Cubao-Rosario Jeepney route. I could have just told her to take a taxi, but then, I would not have anything to share with you here. So I got my grooves going and started to tell her how a little public transportation service called the shuttle totally took this pre-dominantly contact center community which is Eastwood by storm.
Right now, the vans of the shuttle service caters to people going to and from the MRT station at Quezon Avenue, SM North, Marikina, Ortigas, and Ayala-Makati. The shuttle’s main terminal is located behind Eastwood McDonald’s (which was famous for being one of the first McDo restaurants open for 24 hours) and just beside the relatively new Il Pirata restaurant (which has a cool moderate-size pirate ship on its other side). They usually transport people from 6-11AM on weekdays, and the vans start to fill up by 5PM with people coming home from work. The last time I checked, there were still vans operational as late as 9 PM. Later than that or in between the dead hours, the vans can be rented to go their usual routes for some fee as agreed upon by the drivers and the passengers.
The Eastwood shuttle service is now over a year old, but still, it remains largely unknown to Eastwood outsiders as suggested by my friend’s inquiry. A little history: when it first started out, there was one dispatcher and two to three vans, and employees wanting to use the service had to wait some time before the vans fill up. The dispatcher literally had to recruit passengers coming from buildings as far as the Citibank which is way out at the entrance. By the first month, regular passengers started coming in but there were other issues–the police had been arresting van drivers back at the Quezon Ave. MRT, creating some panic with passengers, and for some, disenchantment. Thankfully the issue was resolved, the number of patrons and vans grew in time, and the shuttle terminal became an everyday part of Eastwood life. For me and most of my friends in Katipunan, the shuttle service was an answer to our prayers. Before the shuttle, you have to take the long route of going back to Cubao first and braving the traffic at Aurora or the long walk to Cubao-LRT in order to get to Katipunan. After that you still have to take a tricycle to even get to somewhere near your apartment. Another option is to ride a taxi, but to an increase of 200% of your transportation expenses, considering Katipunan is just a 5-minute drive from Eastwood. The shuttle solved these problems by making a compromise between the two: it cuts the taxi fare by 50% and traverses straight to Katipunan like a regular jeepney should.
I would recommend people to use the shuttle IF they are leaving Eastwood, for the practical reason that the morning schedules are designed primarily for the Eastwood workforce. It’s a little funny because I arrived at the same conclusion after explaining and narrating this to my friend, which of course did not solve her predicament of how best to get to Eastwood. After a ten second pause, I told her it would be better if she would just take a taxi.