DOTr to LTFRB: Expand free rides across all community quarantine categories
MANILA, Philippines — Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade has directed the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to expand the implementation of the Free Ride Service Program nationwide regardless of the community quarantine classification.
Tugade said the program aims to help essential workers get to their destination safely and more efficiently by providing much-needed transportation without any cost.
“Para ito sa mga tao. This is like a socialized transport system. Gobyerno ‘ho ang nagbabayad, sakay lang nang sakay ang tao. Ito ay tulong sa mamamayan. Sa atin ‘hong magigiting na essential workers, libre ‘ho ito dahil napapailalim po ito sa tinatawag na Service Contracting Program,” he explained in a statement Wednesday.
(It’s for the people. This is like a socialized transport system. It’s the government that pays, people just get on board. This is a help to the people. For our brave essential workers, it is free because it is under the so-called Service Contracting Program.)
Tugade added that the nationwide expansion of the Free Ride Service Program seeks to stop the operation of colorum vehicles in and out of Metro Manila.
The DOTr said the Free Ride Service Program for health workers and authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) shall be implemented until such time that the Bayanihan to Recover As One or Bayanihan 2 funds for the Service Contracting Program is fully utilized and disbursed.
It also said that the LTFRB may also hire additional personnel as necessary to effectively expand the Free Ride Service Program.
As of April 12, the Free Ride Service Program for health workers and APORs has recorded a total of over 2.2 million ridership in Metro Manila and other regions placed under enhanced community quarantine and modified enhanced community quarantine since its launch last March 18.
Of the total, 597,873 are from the National Capital Region (NCR) while 1,651,722 are from the other regions.
The Free Ride Service Program covers 20 routes servicing the Greater Manila Area.
Meanwhile, Tugade reiterated his directive for transport operators, drivers, and passengers to strictly implement the 7 Commandments in Public Transport, as well as the health and sanitation protocols recommended by medical experts, inside public transportation.
“Dapat pa ring ipatupad ang basic health protocols. (Basic health protocols must still be implemented.) Public transportation should not be a transmission vector of the virus,” he said
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