MANILA – Free rides on buses at the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa) Busway will continue beyond the end of the third phase of the Service Contracting Program (SCP), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said Wednesday.
In an announcement, the LTFRB said 118 routes under the latest SCP have ended on June 16, while another 28 routes are set to end on June 30.
“Ngunit ang Libreng Sakay sa Edsa Busway Carousel ay patuloy na magbibigay serbisyo para sa mga commuter hanggang July 31 (But the free rides at the Edsa Busway Carousel will continue to provide service to commuters until July 31),” the LTFRB said.
The buses offering free rides at the Edsa Busway, it said, begin their first trip at 4 a.m. and their last trip at 11 p.m. daily.
As of Tuesday, it said the SCP, from its first phase in 2020 to its third phase this year, has served a total of 203,639,626 passengers.
“Nakapagtala naman ng 65,256 na kabuuang bilang ng onboarded public utility vehicle (PUV) units, 4,461 na kabuuang bilang ng mga open route, at 2,197 na kabuuang bilang ng mga onboarded corporations at cooperatives sa buong bansa (The program has onboarded 65,256 PUV units, included 4,461 open routes, and onboarded 2,197 corporations and cooperatives nationwide),” it said.
In November 2020, the first phase of the SCP received a total budget of PHP5.58 billion under the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” and was again funded with PHP3 billion under the 2021 General Appropriations Act for its second phase.
For its third phase, the SCP received PHP7 billion on April 11 under the 2022 General Appropriations Act.
The program, implemented by the LTFRB and the Department of Transportation, aims to help public transport workers, especially those affected by the coronavirus pandemic and rising pump prices by providing additional income. (PNA)