LTFRB to pay PUVs for ‘libreng sakay’
By Jason B. Neola
The Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Bicol is now implementing the phase 3 of its Service Contracting Program (SCP) with drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs).
The program allows commuters to avail free rides or libreng sakay in any of the participating PUVs where the drivers will receive a weekly performance-based subsidies based on the number of trips made, irrespective of the number of passengers.
“Under SCP, PUV drivers are reminded therefore not to collect transportation fares from passengers,” warned Perrie Diovanni Solano, LTFRB project evaluation officer, during the re-launching of the program on Monday, May 23 at the Naga City Hall grounds.
In Naga City, there are three transport cooperatives accredited in the program which have PUVs plying the routes of Del Rosario-Centro via Panganiban Drive, Del Rosario-Centro via Magsaysay Avenue, Concepcion-Centro via Panganiban Drive, Panicuason-Centro, and San Felipe-Centro.
The LTFRB was able to register eight more participating transport cooperatives operating vice-versa from Naga City to Canaman, Magarao, Pasacao, Legazpi City, Calabanga, Tinambac, Libmanan, Gainza, and Sipocot.
There are some 300 PUVs registered in the program which operate in the city and some parts of the province.
Under the program, each participating PUV will be paid at the rate of P54 per kilometer times the number of kilometers travelled per week, whether they have passengers or not.
Solano said the SCP aims to provide with more stable income and incentives those in the transport sector, one of the industries that have been tremendously affected by the pandemic.
“But this time the program is not helping the PUV drivers and operators alone but the riding public as well with the skyrocketing prices of petroleum products that made transportation fares to increase,” he said.
He said that ordinary people like students and workers can now benefit from libreng sakay originally intended to cater only to APOR (authorized persons outside residence) and healthcare workers.
He said that the government agency, as of the moment, has an allocation of P180 million for the implementation of the project in region, adding that “the third phase of libreng sakay will end once the allocated funds are exhausted.”
Jeepneys offering free rides can be found at the Plaza Rizal while the vans (UV Express) traveling to and from the city take the vacant space along the road near the Oragon Monument in front of the Naga City People’s Mall.
Solano said that his office is adopting a 3-way approach to ensure the participating PUVs are making good the agreement they entered with LTFRB. “We conduct manual monitoring on PUVs by way of posting an LTFRB personnel from PUVs’ point of origin and at the area where they are supposed to stop for another round,” he said.
He said monitoring can also be conducted by regularly checking the PUVs’ odometers or by employing the GPS (global positioning system).