AT LEAST 386 units of public utility vehicles (PUVs) are expected to be deployed in Central Visayas, as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) regional office resumes its Free Ride Service Program on September 16.
Eduardo Montealto Jr., LTFRB-Central Visayas director, said although they are still finalizing the total number of PUV units that will participate in the program, they are eyeing to deploy 50 units of public utility buses (PUBs), including about 20 Ceres buses, 36 tourist buses, 150 modern public utility jeepneys (MPUJs), and 150 tourist vans solely for healthcare workers.
The Free Ride Service Program will last until December 31.
Montealto said a total of 23 consolidate PUV operators regionwide have already expressed intent to join in the program.
He said the contract for this has already been prepared and they also had a ceremonial signing on September 8 with four MPUJ operators.
The official launching of the resumption of the free ride service is scheduled on Friday, September 10.
But Montealto said the first week, or from September 16 to 23, will be deemed an initial implementation.
He said the payment will be computed through the number of kilometers covered.
The PUBs will be paid P82.50 per kilometers covered, while the rest of the commissioned units will be paid P52.50 per kilometers covered, he said.
He added that unlike before, the contract is just between the LTFRB and the operators, and it will be the operators who will pay their drivers.
The previous contract of the program was tripartite between the LTFRB, drivers, and operators.
He said this is to ensure continuation of operations even if the driver of a unit cannot drive for a certain period of time.
Montealto said the mode of payment is still pending, but based on their last discussion, the payment will be made either every after 15 days or monthly, while the LTFRB regional office is set to submit payment requirements to the central office weekly.
Meanwhile, Montealto said the MyBus has yet to commit for the program pending the payment for the previous free ride service program.
"Ang uban pod ni back out kay naghuwat sila og, pananglit sa MyBus, duna man unta sila'y 44 units. Nag back out sila pero nag apil sila pirmi sa among meetings. Unya na sila mubalik og makadawat na sila sa ilang previous nga payout," he said.
MyBus participated during the first free ride service program implemented by LTFRB this year.
Montealto said he is positive that the payout for the last free ride service program will be finished before November this year.
"Procedural na lang kay nakagawas gikan sa DBM (Department of Budget and Management), naa na sa DOTr (Department of Transportation). The DOTr will further download to LTFRB. Pagkahuman ato, hopefully, di na ni abtan og November," he said. (WBS)