DOTr expanding contract services for public transport

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) wants to expand service contracting arrangements to meet  commuters' demand in Metro Manila once lockdown is lifted.

Under a service contracting system, the government will pay operators and drivers of buses and public transport units a per kilometer fee rather than the number of passengers being serviced.

From June 1 to July 29, the DOTr implemented service contracting in its MRT-3 Bus Augmentation Program  to address the decrease in MRT-3’s capacity when the agency imposed physical distancing.

“The 90 buses deployed by government, through service contracting, for the MRT-3 Bus Augmentation Program has been proven effective," stressed Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra III.

"We have serviced around 400,000 passengers since June 1 with the Bus Augmentation Program, and we are aiming to expand the same scheme in other routes and transport modes to better service our commuting public,” he elaborated.

“The benefit of having service contracting arrangements is that commuters and passengers are assured of rides at a fixed schedule,” DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Sector Mark Steven Pastor maintained.

“Since DOTr will pay them based on the number of kilometers they were able to run, they will leave the station on schedule, whether full or not,  eliminating longer waiting times and offering shorter travel time for passengers.”

 "Service contracting is one of our safest bet to ensure effective and continuous service for our commuters,” he argued.

“This will also provide extra income for affected drivers and operators and help them transition once the protocols are lifted,” Pastor stressed.

In fact, DOTr proposed that the Senate include service contracting of public transport  in the budget allocation for the transport sector.

The DOTr also discussed the possibility of allocating a budget for contract service arrangements with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).