24-hour free ride on EDSA busway starts

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
24-hour free ride on EDSA busway starts
Commuters wait in long queues for a "Libreng Sakay" by the Department of Transportation at the EDSA Carousel Bus Station along Main Avenue.
The STAR / Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The round-the-clock free rides along the EDSA busway started yesterday and will be available for commuters until Dec. 31.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said the EDSA carousel would run for 24 hours with free rides under the service contracting program of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

The LTFRB said an additional 100 public utility buses would be deployed to service commuters under the extended operational hours from 11:01 p.m. to 3:59 a.m.

As for normal hours, up to 650 buses will be deployed from the Monumento station up to the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange.

The LTFRB said more commuters would benefit from the free rides during the Christmas season, as malls also extended their operating hours.

The Marcos administration extended the “libreng sakay” program to help the transport sector recover from the pandemic.

Beep cards

Meanwhile, Sen. Grace Poe asked the DOTr to explain the apparent shortage of beep cards being used by train commuters.

Poe, who chairs the Senate committee on public services, made the call following complaints from passengers about the scarcity of beep cards, which are being sold online for P180, higher than the original price of P100.

“The lack of beep cards is a step backward in our goal of digitalizing the transportation payment system,” Poe said.

Last August, the DOTr directed rail line officials to come up with alternatives in addressing the shortage of stored-value or beep cards.

Beep card supplier AF Payments Inc. failed to deliver 75,000 stored-value cards for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) last July.

AF Payments supplies the beep cards for the MRT-3 as well as the Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and LRT-2.

The firm said the lack of beep cards was due to a global supply crunch for chips. – Cecille Suerte-Felipe


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