As the Christmas season will be at its peak once December finally rolls in, so will the challenges of commuting. Luckily, good news awaits commuters who travel along EDSA as there will be free rides on the bus carousel for 24 hours from Dec. 15 to 31.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced this in anticipation of the Christmas holiday rush. According to Secretary Jaime Bautista, the department will use up its remaining funds in their budget to extend their free ridership program.
"'Yung funding kasi, we're only able to get P1.4 billion. Palagay namin, 'yung Dec. 15 hanggang 31 can still be accommodated by the existing budget," Bautista said.
With the new scheme, commuters on EDSA will be able use the bus carousel more conveniently. The rides are currently limited from 4 am until 11 pm, and once you go outside these hours, you will need to pay a fare of P13 for the first five kilometers and an additional P2.20 for every succeeding kilometer.
But as much as the transportation agency wants to continue easing the challenges of commuting, Bautista said that their budget is constrained only until the end of the year.
The DOTr was previously allocated P1.4 billion to extend the project from September to December this year, after which the "Libreng Sakay" program for the EDSA Bus Carousel will be discontinued due to the lack of budget given to the agency.
"Gusto sana namin magkaroon ng ganitong [free ride service]. Nung hinihingi namin 'yan sa Department of Budget and Management ay hindi naman ibinigay samin, siguro because of limited budget also," Bautista said.
"Kung bibigyan kami ng ganitong budget, ipapapatuloy namin ang programa namin on a limited basis," he added.