MRT-3 (File photo)

MANILA – The free rides and antigen tests at the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) are coming to an end as the rail service holds the last day of the free services on Thursday.

The end of the ‘Libreng Sakay (free ride)’ program comes after being extended twice -- lasting more than three months -- since it began on March 28.

The free ride program was meant to celebrate the completion of the massive rehabilitation of the rail service and to help the public amidst the rising prices of fuel and goods.

“Naging daan din ang libreng sakay sa pamunuan ng MRT-3 upang masubok ang performance at kapasidad ng linya na magsakay ng mas maraming bilang ng mga pasahero na umaabot sa 380,000 sa loob ng karaniwang araw (The free ride program allowed the MRT-3 management to test the performance and capacity of the rail line to take in more passengers, up to 380,000 in a regular day),” the MRT-3 said in a Facebook post.

On June 10, the MRT-3 served a record 381,814 passengers -- the largest number of passengers the MRT-3 served in a single day since it resumed operation in June 2020.

On the other hand, the MRT-3’s free antigen testing for passengers (voluntary basis) will end after almost six months since it began on January 11.

The free Covid-19 testing, it said, was meant to help ensure the safety of commuters amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

It noted that the last person who tested positive for Covid-19 under the program was back on January 28.

Under former Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and MRT-3 Officer-in-Charge Michael Capati, MRT-3 trains have increased their operating speed to 60 kilometers per hour (kph) from the previous 30 kph, reducing travel time and the waiting time between trains.

The MRT-3 has also started to deploy four-car train sets in addition to the 16 to 18 three-car train sets in the rail line to boost its passenger capacity. (PNA)