Students  to get free  train rides  â DOTr
Commuters are seen waiting for the LRT Line 2 coach at the Anonas Station in Quezon City in this file photo.
Miguel de Guzman
Students to get free train rides – DOTr
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - June 28, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Starting July 1, students can avail themselves of free train rides at select hours during weekdays except holidays, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced yesterday.

Free rides at the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) will be from 5 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2), free rides will be from 4:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. There will be no free rides for students at the LRT Line 1, which is operated by private firm Light Rail Manila Corp.    

At the Philippine National Railways (PNR), free rides will be from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

On top of this, students will get anti-cutoff pass, which means they are automatically part of the train ride and will not be offloaded once it is full.

All students up to college, including those taking up technical and vocational courses, with the exception of those taking up graduate studies, are covered by the free train rides.

Students are required to present their valid identification cards to avail themselves of the free rides.

The DOTr said students would soon have to apply for a permanent ID to be used for the free rides program.

The program is a form of incentive to encourage students to go to school early, according to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

“The way to a comfortable life is to have a good education. This is why Secretary Tugade thought of giving students a little help to encourage them to study. This is a good habit, which we want them to have,” DOTr Undersecretary for railways Timothy John Batan said.

Exemption from terminal fees

Students will also be exempted from paying terminal fees at airports and seaports operated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and Philippine Ports Authority.

The exemption in terminal fees at 40 airports run by the CAAP will be implemented starting Aug. 1.

Students would not pay terminal fees in seaports beginning July 16.

Tugade said the program would be evaluated after three months to look at possible improvements, particularly the time window for the rail lines.

 He said he wants the program to last for a long time, although it is seen to affect the government’s revenue collection.

For LRT-2, for instance, Tugade said estimated forgone revenue due to the free rides is expected to reach P130 million per year.

“The best return of investment we have is when we see people and stakeholders happy and satisfied,” Tugade said.

“Imagine how beautiful this world will be if all sectors, not only the government, will be doing this. We are planting the seeds of corporate social responsibility,” he said. – With Robertzon Ramirez

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