144 bus drivers under free ride program ‘paid’

·2 min read

A TOTAL of 144 of the 500 drivers in Central Visayas who registered for first scheme of the free ride service contracting program have received their incentives.

Eduardo Montealto Jr., Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 director, said the recipients are all public utility bus (PUB) drivers. The remaining 356 are drivers of modern public utility jeepneys (MPUJs).

Montealto said he does not know how much the 144 PUB drivers received since the transaction was between them and the LTFRB central office.

He said the drivers started receiving payment on March 15, 2021 and continue to receive payment every 15 days.

“We just submitted the number of kilometers (they) covered. The central office also has its own monitoring system utilizing GPS (Global Positioning System),” he said.

Under the first scheme of the free ride service, which started in January 2021, only health care workers can ride for free. The rest of the passengers have to pay.

Drivers are given an incentive of P11 per kilometer, while operators earn from paying passengers.

Montealto said 26 drivers of 13 PUBs have registered for the second scheme of the service contracting program that provides free rides to authorized persons outside of residence as well.

He said aside from the first 10 Ceres buses deployed in Cebu, the LV Transport Services deployed three PUBs in Bohol under the program on Monday, April 26.

The operators agreed to deploy their units as the LTFRB 7 is still waiting for the approval of the contracts and documents (pertaining to the second scheme of the program) they sent to their central office on April 22.

“We, however, keep tabs on their operation,” he said.

Montealto said PUBs are given P82.50 as incentive for every kilometer they cover. Thirty percent of the incentive goes to the driver while 70 percent goes to the operator.

As the turnaround time is expected to last for two weeks minimum, Montealto said the earliest possible time for the contract and documents to be prepared is in the first week of May.

Only then, he said, can operators deploy the rest of their buses and about 50 MPUJs that registered for the second scheme of the free-ride service.

Of the 10 Ceres buses deployed in Cebu, three operate from the City of Naga to Chong Hua Hospital in Mandaue City, passing through the South Road Properties, SM Seaside City, Mambaling, N. Bacalso Ave. and Imus in Cebu City.

Three buses operate from Talamban Road to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in uptown Cebu City. The four remaining buses operate from the Danao Provincial Hospital to the University of Cebu Medical Center in Mandaue City. (WBS)