public transportation

DOTr to offer free train rides for students, extends EDSA Carousel buses

Ralf Rivas
DOTr to offer free train rides for students, extends EDSA Carousel buses

'NEW NORMAL.' In this file photo, commuters crowd the MRT at the Araneta Center-Cubao station during the first day of the work week to avail of the monthlong free train ride implemented by the government, on March 28, 2022.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

The transport department aims to help students as face-to-face classes resume in August

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced on Friday, July 1, it would be offering free train rides for students when in-person classes resume.

In a memo, Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista said the Libreng Sakay for Students program would be implemented from August to November or during the first quarter of school year 2022-2023.

“Considering the welfare of students, however, whose learning outcomes have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, the undersigned recommends implementing a Libreng Sakay for Students Program for the First Quarter of School Year 2022-2023, or from 22 August 2022 to 04 November 2022.  The Libreng Sakay for students will be implemented in MRT-3. LRT-2, and PNR,” Bautista said. (READ: History in crisis: Easier for students to fall for disinformation in distance learning setup)

The mechanics as to how students can avail of the program have yet to be released.

While students will get free rides, the rest of the public won’t.

The same memo said it would discontinue the free train rides program for fiscal considerations. The DOTr noted that even without the Libreng Sakay program, operating the MRT-3 already entails an average subsidy of P163.85 per passenger.

Free bus rides

Meanwhile, the DOTR approved the extension of the free EDSA Carousel bus rides until the yearend, noting that there are still funds from the national government to fund the program.

“Considering the availability of budget for Service Contracting under GA 2022, the undersigned recommends the continuation of the Libreng Sakay Program for all passengers of the EDSA Bus Carousel,” Bautista’s memo read.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the implementing agency for the program, earlier said that it had P7 billion from the national budget. It spends roughly P14 million a day to pay for contracted public utility vehicles for the program.

The extension of the program comes after the LTFRB has approved the provisional jeepney minimum fare hike of P11 nationwide, as gas prices in the global market soar.

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.