Transportation has been regarded as pivotal to our socioeconomic life. Many of us have to traverse major thoroughfares to get to work and continue to provide for ourselves and families. This is also true for all students who need to go and attend classes, for anyone who needs to go to the market to buy their needs, or just for someone who needs to visit a relative or a friend in the neighboring city or municipality. Given the importance of transportation in our daily lives, efficiency in the system remains to be a huge challenge in the Philippines, especially to the highly dense Metropolitan areas like in Metro Manila.
Undeniably, transportation plays an important role in the promotion of economic growth as these are avenues to move goods and services. As economies continue to improve like what the Philippines is experiencing, infrastructures related with the transportation sector must be able to cope up to continue to support the increasing productivity. However, in the Philippines, traffic congestion alone costs the economy of at least $53.6 million per day, or around $18 billion yearly in 2014, according to the Philippine Development Plan. Thus, necessary support must be provided to the sector to address this impending matter.
Further to the foregoing discussion, public transportation has been the main means of the majority of the population. Albeit many depend on public transportation, according to a JICA report in 2014 as cited by a paper published by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Public Utility Vehicles (PUV) only use a measly 28% of the road space but covers more than 67% of the public’s mobility demand. That is why the cost of utilizing the public transport system in the Metro is hugely influencing the majority’s purchasing power thus, amidst also the increasing prices of basic commodities as reflected in the inflation, cost-free transportation like free MRT and EDSA Carousel ride surely benefit many commuters. Bria Homes will walk you through the ongoing free or discounted modes of public transportation in Metro Manila, highlighting the EDSA Bus Carousel and various rail lines like the MRT and LRT.
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Central to the increasing prices of the basic commodities is the skyrocketing market value of oil; a fundamental and influential factor to setting the cap for the fare in the public transport system. Due to this, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) granted the petition of public transport groups to increase the base fare in the country for traditional jeepneys to Php 11.00 while for the modern jeepneys, Php 13.00 for the first four kilometers. Aside from the traditional and modern jeepneys, there are other alternate modes of transportation available in Metro Manila like the various rail lines like the MRT, LRT, and PNR and the EDSA Bus Carousel.
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Free EDSA Bus Carousel
These alternatives now offer free or discounted rides either for the general public or the target population. During the height of the Covid pandemic, the Philippine government offered cost-free public transportation to help the struggling population over the increasing unemployment rate during that time. Through the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, the LTFRB and Department of Transportation was able to offer free EDSA Bus Carousel ride from November 2022 until June 30, 2021 and was only resumed on April 11, 2022 under the 2022 General Appropriations Act.
The free EDSA Bus Carousel program was supposed to end on July 1, 2022 as indicated on the General Appropriations Act. Fortunately, on the first day of the presidency of President Marcos, Jr., the Department of Transportation has announced the continuation of the EDSA Bus Carousel free ride program until December 2022. Prior to the implementation of the free EDSA Bus Carousel, the fare ranges from Php 13.00 to Php 61.50 from Monumento Station to PITX Station. Below are all the 18 EDSA Bus Carousel stations.
● Taft Avenue
● Ayala Avenue
● Main Avenue
● Nepa Q-mart
● Quezon Avenue
● North Avenue
● SM North
● Kaingin Road Bus Terminal
● LRT Balintwak
● Bagong Barrio
Discounted Rail Services in Metro Manila
After the extensive rehabilitation project of the Metro Rail Transit line 3 in December 2021, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) initially implemented the libreng sakay (free ride) program from March 28 to April 30, 2022. Considering the increasing prices of basic commodities and as part of the government’s effort to help ease the commuters’ financial burden, the MRT free ride was eventually extended two times to May 30 and June 30, respectively.
According to the DOTr, in the three months of the implementation of the MRT free ride program, it benefited over 23 million passengers. MRT Line 3 alone serves over 300,000 commuters daily thus, the MRT free ride surely contributed to increasing the purchasing power of the commuters. The money that they save from this program could be used to purchase other commodities like rice among others. Now that the MRT free ride program ended on June 30, 2022, commuters need again to pay the rail line’s fare that ranges from Php 13.00 to Php 28.00. Below are the 13 stations of the 16.9 km MRT line 3.
● North Avenue
● Quezon Avenue
● Kamuning, Cubao
● Shaw Boulevard
● Boni Avenue
● Sen. Gil Puyat (Buendia)
● Ayala Avenue
● Magallanes Avenue
● Taft Avenue
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In consideration of the forthcoming fullswing of the face-to-face classes, President Marcos Jr. approved a memorandum submitted by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) seeking to provide free rides only for students who will be using not just the MRT-3, but also the LRT-2 and PNR when in-person classes resume in August. According to the DOTr Secretary, Jaime Bautista, the fare-free MRT ride for students is expected to commence in August and end in November 2022 or during the 1st quarter of academic year 2022-2023.
Read Also: How to Prepare for the Incoming Face-to-Face Classes?
Another Alternative: MMDA Free Ferry Service
Aside from the EDSA Bus Carousel and major rail lines in Metro Manila, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will continue to provide free ferry service to all. The 28 km long ferry service of the MMDA that traverses along the Pasig River has 11 stations and covers 4 cities in Metro Manila namely, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Makati and Manila. Below are the stations of the MMDA Free Ferry Service:
● San Joaquin
● Sta. Ana
The MMDA Free Ferry Service is a viable alternative to other modes of transportation. For students, they maximize the stations like PUP, Escolta and Quinta as these stations are strategically located near various universities and colleges.
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