Over 170K essential workers, APORs avail of DOTr's expanded 'libreng sakay'

Published September 14, 2021, 6:23 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

More than 170,000 essential workers have so far benefitted from the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) free ride program on the first day of its nationwide resumption on Monday, Sept. 13.

Commuters line up to board a bus along EDSA as the government enforces movement curbs against the coronavirus outbreak in this August 2021 file photo (Mark Balmores/Manila Bulletin)

The DOTr said a total of 170,345 health workers, medical frontliners, and other authorized persons outside of residence or APOR have availed of the free ride under the second phase of its Service Contracting Program.

The program, which was suspended last July 1 after the Bayanihan 2 expired, aims to aid affected public utility vehicle (PUV) operators and drivers in their everyday operational expenses amid restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic.

It has been extended and now being implemented under the 2021 General Appropriations Act with a P3 billion budget allotted for PUV operators until December 2021.

According to the DOTr, the implementation of the Service Contracting Program Phase 2 has also been expanded and now covers other regions across the country aside from Metro Manila.

Here are the routes offering free rides for APORs per regions:

National Capital Region

1) Alabang – Zapote

2) Baclaran – NAIA Baltao

3) Buendia – PITX

4) Cubao (Diamond) – Roces (PANTRANCO)

5) Cubao Rosario – Sta. Lucia

6) EDSA Busway

7) Gasak – Divisoria

8 ) Gasak – Recto

9) Lagro – QMC

10) Munoz – Quiapo

11) Nichols – MOA

12) Nichols – Vito Cruz

13) Novaliches – Malinta via Paso De Blas & Vice Versa

14) Parang Marikina – Cubao

15) Pasig Palengke to Bagumbayan via San Joaquin

16) QMC Loop

17) Quezon Avenue – 5th Avenue LRT

Region 1

1) Dagupan City – Bambang

2) Urdaneta – Tayug via Asingan

3) Vigan – Sinait

Region 2

1) Ilagan – Cauayan

Region 10

1) Cagayan De Oro City – Kapatagan & Vice Versa

2) Cagayan De Oro City – San Fernando

The DOTr said more routes will be opened in other regions soon to offer free rides for essential workers and provide additional income for PUV drivers amid the pandemic.

Under the program, the government through the DOTr and the LTFRB will provide a weekly payout to PUV operators and drivers based on kilometers and trips on top of a one-time incentive of P5,000 per unit.

Meanwhile, the DOTr reminded anew drivers and operators, as well as passengers, to strictly enforce and follow the minimum health standards while inside the vehicle.