EDSA bus rides to charge passengers starting Jan. 1

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 28) — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday reminded commuters that EDSA bus carousel free rides will stop by the end of the year.

“Simula ika-1 ng Enero 2023 [sa] ganap na alas-5 ng umaga (5 a.m.) ay may bayad na ang pamasahe mula PITX hanggang Monumento [at] vice versa,” the DOTr said in a statement.

[Translation: Starting Jan. 1, 2023, at exactly 5 a.m., fare will be collected from PITX to Monumento and vice versa.]

Earlier, LTFRB Executive Director Tina Cassion said the funds for the service contracting program (SCP) -– not just on EDSA busway –- were already “exhausted.”

READ: End of Libreng Sakay, continued fuel price hikes seen to cripple more drivers, commuters

Cassion said a supplemental budget was needed if the government wants to continue implementing the program.

In August, the Department of Budget and Management released ₱1.4 billion that extended the Libreng Sakay program until year-end.

Meanwhile, DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista also confirmed that government plans to privatize operations of the EDSA bus carousel by 2023.

In an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source last November, Bautista said privatization of the EDSA busway will make it more efficient and profitable.

READ: DOTr eyes privatization of EDSA busway by 2023

Latest data LTFRB showed there were over 80,000 passengers of EDSA bus rides recorded from Dec. 15 to Dec. 27.

87 operators and 751 Public Utility Buses (PUBs) participated in the program, the transport agency added.

SCP or Libreng Sakay was implemented in 2020 as part of the government’s effort to help the transport sector during the pandemic.

It was approved under the Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.