THE LAND Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said it is set to roll out on Monday, April 11, the third phase of its service contracting program, which includes free rides for all commuters.
The P7-billion program aims to help operators, drivers, and commuters who continue to be affected by the pandemic crisis and rising fuel prices, the agency said in a statement on Sunday.
Funded under the General Appropriations Act of 2022, the program started in 2021 as part of the Bayanihan II, a law on the pandemic response, with P5.58 billion allotted to the Transportation department.
Transport sector workers have said they need fixed wages to cope with increasing oil prices and the continuing impact of the pandemic crisis.
For gross contract under Phase 3 of the program, the LTFRB will pay consolidated public buses, including tourist buses, P84 per kilometer from P82.50 previously.
Meanwhile, the agency will pay consolidated modern and traditional public jeepneys and UV Express vehicles P54 per kilometer from P52.50 previously.
The increased rates are in consideration of higher fuel prices, according to the agency.
The free-ride program will start on the EDSA Busway on Monday, initially with 510 public utility buses.
Previous rollouts of the free-ride program mainly covered healthcare and other essential workers as mobility restrictions were in place.
Under the government’s current alert level system, most areas across the country are under eased pandemic guidelines.
LTFRB is also planning to open new routes and authorize more public utility vehicles for the nationwide implementation of the program. — Arjay L. Balinbin