Wednesday, August 17, 2022

DOTr Chief Assures ‘Libreng Sakay’ To Continue Till December

DOTr Chief Assures ‘Libreng Sakay’ To Continue Till December


How do you feel about this story?


Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista on Thursday assured the public that the “Libreng Sakay” (free ride) program along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa) Busway will continue at least until December 31 this year.

In an interview during the launch of the new Roxas Boulevard Station of the Edsa Busway, Bautista said while funding for the project has yet to be released, he has spoken with Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman who assured that the project’s budget is “ready”.

“Hinihintay na lang po natin yung fund allocation pero we were given assurance by the DBM Secretary. In fact, kausap ko po siya kagabi, and sinasabi niyang ready na yung pondo para dito (We are just waiting for fund allocation but we were assured by the DBM Secretary. In fact, I spoke with her last night and she said the budget for this is ready),” Bautista said.

He noted that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. himself is pushing for the continuance of the project to help commuters cope with their daily expenses, especially those affected by the pandemic.

“Pero kapag nag-normalize na po, ibabalik din po tayo sa dating pamamaraan. Maniningil na rin po ng pamasahe itong mga bus na ito. So, temporary lang po ito (But once things normalize, we will go back to the previous ways. These buses will start charging fares. So, this is just temporary),” he said.

To ensure the continued operation of the two consortia operating the buses along the Edsa Busway, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has been working to accelerate the release of their payment, he said.

“Dun sa meeting namin, nasabi nila samin na bumibilis na raw ang pagbabayad ng LTFRB (In our meeting, the two consortia said the LTFRB is releasing their payment faster),” he said.

In a separate interview, LTFRB Chair Cheloy Garafil said the “self-imposed” deadline for payment to these two consortia has so far been met, with the delay now limited to two to three weeks.

To date, Garafil said the budget left for the free ride program would be used up by September 6, with PHP1.4 billion needed to continue the program until the end of December.

“We spend PHP10 (million) to PHP12 million a week sa ‘Libreng Sakay’ (for the free ride program),” she said.

With the proposed budget, she said, the LTFRB is eyeing the expansion of the free ride program to include other public transport routes in the country.

“Pina-finalize na namin within the week yung mga bagong ruta na io-open (We are finalizing within the week the new routes that will be opened). So, you’ll know in the coming days. We still need to talk to Secretary Bautista about it,” Garafil said.

Earlier, Bautista, Garafil, and other government officials led the launch of two new Edsa Busway Stations – the Roxas Boulevard and Taft Avenue median stations.

To date, there are a total of 18 stops along the Busway, with 15 median stops and three stops along the outer lanes of Edsa. (PNA)

Latest News


The Talk

More Stories

Poe: Give Hybrid Work Arrangement A Chance, Solve Workers’ Woes, Save Lives

Sen. Grace Poe asked the entire government to "think outside the cubicle" this is to allow modern technologies for hybrid work arrangements in the country to thrive.

DBM Oks Release Of P1.4-B Fund For Free EDSA Carousel Bus Rides

The Department of Budget and Management has approved of the 1.4 billion pesos of additional funds to extended the free bus rides at EDSA Carousel.

400 Families In Bicol Get P15.3-M Cash Aid Via Bagong Pag-Asa Program

400 families benefited from the Balik-Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa program, receiving their cash assistance.

Learners In Typhoon-Hit Southern Leyte To Hold Classes In Tents

Some students in Southern Leyte are having their class in tents while their classrooms are being repaired.

DOH No Longer Supports Use Of Schools As Quarantine Facilities

Since home quarantine is already allowed, the Department of Health no longer supports the use of schools as isolation facilities for Covid-19 cases.