MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Friday extended the free rides in EDSA Carousel until December this year and also approved free transit for students who will ride the MRT-3, LRT-2, and PNR lines when classes resume in August, the transportation department said.
The Department of Transportation said the decision was made following Marcos' meeting with Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista.
Under the Duterte administration, the EDSA Carousel initially offered free rides from Monumento Station and vice versa to PITX or only until July 31. The free rides in MRT-3 for all passengers ended on June 30 or the last day of former President Rodrigo Duterte as the country's leader.
The free train rides for students will start August 22 up to to November 4, said Bautista.
"Considering the welfare of students, however, whose learning outcomes have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, the undersigned recommends implementing a Libreng Sakay for Students Program for the First Quarter of School Year 2022-2023," the statement read, quoting Bautista.
It was not feasible to extend the free rides in MRT-3 for all passengers because the fares for the train line "are already heavily subsidized."
The idea of the free ride offer started when the railway's management wanted to test and show off the newly rehabilitated MRT-3 systems to the public.
The MRT-3 rehabilitation project was the biggest completed Build Build Build program, worth P21 billion. For three months, the railways could sustain a shorter headway of 4 minutes from 10 and a faster travel speed of 60kph from 40.