COMMUTERS' SUPPORT. More than 11 million commuters in Central Luzon avail of the free rides since the Service Contract Program was relaunched in the region from April 13 up to June 28, 2022. At present, there are 39 routes in the provinces of Tarlac, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, and Nueva Ecija that offer free rides. (Infographic by LTFRB-3)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Over 11 million free rides have been given to health care workers and other authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) by public utility vehicles in Central Luzon under the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB) service contracting program (SCP) Phase 3.

The LTFRB3 logged 11,576,167 free rides provided by transport service cooperatives plying routes in the provinces of Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan, Tarlac, Zambales, Nueva Ecija and Aurora from April 13-June 28.

LTFRB Regional Director Nasrudin Talipasan on Thursday said the program’s goal is to provide additional revenue to operators and drivers who have been severely affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic by providing free public transportation.

Meanwhile, Rodolfo Nojadera Jr. operator of Bagac Modernized Transport Service Inc. in Bataan, said the program is a big help to the operators, drivers, and commuters.

“The free rides are a big help to the operators because this is their source for daily expenses. Likewise to the drivers because through the program, they have work in the midst of pandemic. In addition, the commuters were saving a lot on fares,” Nojadera said in Filipino in a social media post.

To date, there are 39 routes in the provinces of Bulacan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bataan and Nueva Ecija that offer free rides.

Under the service contracting program, PUV drivers and operators will provide free rides to commuters and will be compensated by the government every week.

The government will shoulder the fuel expenses, disinfection, monthly amortizations, and other overhead expenses.

PUV drivers and operators will be paid based on the number of trips traveled per week regardless of the number of passengers they get.

The Libreng Sakay in the region will end on July 4. (PNA)