TACLOBAN CITY – A bus firm operating in Leyte is currently implementing a six-week free ride from this city to Ormoc City and Biliran province through the government’s service contracting program.
Visayas Liner has started on May 14 the free ride for Tacloban-Ormoc and Tacloban-Naval (Biliran) routes as part of its drive to help commuters in the wake of the health crisis, the company said in its statement on Thursday. The program will benefit bus passengers until June 30, 2021.
Passengers from here to Ormoc will save PHP225 per ride while those bound to and from Naval town will save PHP262 per ride.
“We are joining the Land Transportation and Franchise Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) in the government’s drive to help the community in the midst of the pandemic. Starting this week, health workers, front-liners, and authorized persons outside residence can ride Visayas Liner for free on our routes,” the company added in its statement.
The service contracting program allows public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers to earn a steady income – PHP11 per kilometer for traditional and modern jeepneys and PHP23.10 for passenger buses aside from incentives or demerits based on service quality, commuter feedback, and performance of the driver.
Those included in the program have to meet specific performance indicators to improve the quality of transport service and for them to receive the subsidy.
The program was launched last November 2020 with a budget of PHP5.58 billion as part of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2.
The LTFRB reminded drivers of the PUVs offering a free ride to observe the 50 percent capacity and must follow the standard health protocols such as wearing the face shield and mask at all times, no talking, phone conversation, nor eating. The driver/operator must always maintain good and adequate ventilation in PUVs, regular disinfection, prohibiting passengers with Covid-19 symptoms from riding the public transport, and follow the rules on physical distancing.
Visayas Liner is the second public transport to offer the government’s free ride service contracting program.
The first was Jeepko, a modern jeepney plying the Tacloban-Tanauan (Leyte) routes. The company launched the free ride on May 3 until June 30, 2021.
The bus firm owned by Leyte-based businessmen Rainier and Ryan Mancera launched their operation in November 2020 with 10 modern buses on its fleet taking passengers to Ormoc City in northwest Leyte and Naval in Biliran from Robinson’s Marasbaras Terminal in this city. (PNA)