DBM releases P1.4 B for EDSA free rides

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P1.4 billion, ensuring the free rides program at the Edsa Busway to continue until the end of the year.

Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman on Tuesday, Aug. 16, announced the release of P1.4 billion for the additional funding requirements for the extended implementation of the service contracting of public utility vehicle (PUV) program.

Pangadaman said funds will support free rides for commuters along the EDSA Carousel Route in line with the directive of President Marcos.

“The allotted additional funds support President Marcos’ directive to extend the Libreng Sakay program of the Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board until December,” Pangandaman said in a statement.

To recall, the free ride program was set to end last July 31, but Marcos announced its extension until December this year.

“The Libreng Sakay program provides big help and relief to commuters, particularly for students and people in the labor force. This will support up to 50-million ridership from Sept. 1 until Dec. 31,” the budget chef said.

Moreover, Pangandaman said the release of funds for the service contracting program will benefit around 628 units of onboarded public utility buses (PUBs) on the EDSA Busway Route in the National Capital Region.

“It will provide big support to the livelihood of many drivers of EDSA Busway who until now are recovering from the effects of the pandemic and the continued increases in gasoline prices,” she added.

The service contracting program provides financial support to transport service providers through performance-based payouts.

It was conceived to ensure efficient and safe operations of public transportation under the new normal condition for the benefit of the commuters, especially for students and the labor force traversing the EDSA route.