Tops faces backlash over bus service issue

Artist rendition of the newly redeveloped and renovated Cebu’s TOPS, an observatory deck located 2,000 feet above the sea level of Cebu City. It set to have its soft re-opening on Feb. 14, 2024.
Artist rendition of the newly redeveloped and renovated Cebu’s TOPS, an observatory deck located 2,000 feet above the sea level of Cebu City. It set to have its soft re-opening on Feb. 14, 2024. TOPS Management

A CONCERNED citizen took to social media to share her “horrifying and traumatic” experience at the recently reopened iconic landmark Tops, located in the mountain barangay of Busay, Cebu City.

Beverly Ramos, a social media user, in her Facebook post on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, described how she and others had to spend the night there on Feb. 15 due to the lack of a bus ride to Cebu I.T. Park, contrary to the advertised service.

“Again, we strongly demand accountability from the Tops management! Don’t ignore us; take responsibility for what happened to us,” reads a portion of her post.

She said the intention of her post is “to show how the Tops management and staff handled the crisis.”

Ramos’ post garnered 4,200 reactions and more than 4,000 shares as of this writing.

Tops, Cebu’s go-to observatory deck to see the scenic and panoramic view, had its soft opening on Feb. 14, after more than a year of renovations and development since Oct. 21, 2022.

To cater to guests without personal vehicles, Tops management advertised on its Facebook page on Oct. 13, offering non-stop bus rides between Tops and Cebu I.T Park, as well as Tops and JY Square.

For a fee of P200, which covers the Tops entrance fee and round trip bus ride to the JY Square and I.T. Park terminals, guests can avail themselves of the service. Buses travel in a 30-minute interval starting as early as 6 a.m. with the last trip departing from Tops at 2:30 a.m. for the I.T Park terminal.

Feb. 15 incident

However, it was allegedly not followed on Feb. 15.

Ramos said she and her friends decided to visit the iconic landmark at 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 15, and after an hour and a half of picture taking and enjoying the view, they decided to go home.

Ramos said they had been waiting for a ride since 1 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 16. By 2 a.m., the bus for the third trip departed while many guests, including them, were still in line.

She said contrary to the 30-minute pick-up time interval, it took longer for some buses to pick up passengers. She also observed that only four out of six buses were in service.

“At 3 a.m. wala pa g’yud nabalik ang bus and the staff really assured us na mubalik pa g’yud daw ang driver to pick us up (the bus still hadn’t returned, and the staff assured us that the driver would indeed come back to pick us up),” Ramos said, noting that the temperature at the time was already getting lower and the rain started pouring.

She said some guests sought shelter inside the establishment’s comfort rooms during the rain.

When asked for an update, a staff member admitted the lack of communication with the bus driver.

“They can’t really blame us for expecting to be picked up because we paid properly,” Ramos said.

When one of the staff was able to contact the driver, the driver replied that their duty was only until 2:30 a.m. and the next pickup would be at 6 a.m. that day.

Ramos said the guests had to call in emergency response units from various offices such as Barangay Lahug, City Command Center, and Mabolo Police Station but response units were unable to rescue them due to the rain and low visibility in the area.

Guests were rescued by Barangay Busay and Mabolo Police Station personnel by 7 a.m.

Ramos said they asked for a refund, but the staff couldn’t provide it yet because the management personnel were not present.

Ramos said there was a lack of initiative and responsibility on the part of the staff as they were unable to find a solution to the situation. Ramos said they demand accountability from the management for what happened.

Management Response

SunStar Cebu tried to reach Tops’ management on Monday, Feb. 19 but was referred to a statement issued on Feb. 17.

In the statement, the Tops management announced the suspension of all bus rides from JY Square to the establishment. Instead, all six buses will be redirected to the Cebu I.T. Park Terminal route until further notice.

In the same statement, Tops said it will be augmenting its bus fleet from six to 12 to improve transport availability.

“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused by the recent delays in our shuttle bus rides,” said the official statement made by Tops.

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