THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) started offering free rides in Metro Cebu from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 20. The service will be available until Monday, Dec. 24.
Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 Director Victor Caindec said the program is called Oplan Ligtas Biyahe-Libreng Sakay Pamasko 2018.
He said it’s a private sector initiative but government transport regulatory agencies are handling the program to make it legal and safe.
“With the private sector, we are helping the people go home early during the Christmas holidays. It does not have to be perfect, but we do what we can to help,” he said.
Passengers will be ferried by vehicles belonging to Ceres Liner, SMB Bus Transport, Catalina Car Rentals and Cebu South Mini Bus Operators Association.
Caindec said the free ride is being implemented in collaboration with his office, the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7, the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Ten southbound and 10 northbound buses have been deployed.
For those going south, the bus stops are Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas across the Abellana National School; McDonald’s across Shopwise in Mambaling, Cebu City; Total Gasoline Station in Basak, Pardo, Cebu City; Citi Hardware in Bulacao, Cebu City; Atlantic Hardware in Tabunok, Talisay City; and Starmall in Talisay City.
For those going north, the bus stops are Plaza Independencia; SM City Cebu; San Miguel Corp. in Tipolo, Mandaue City; Pacific Mall in Mandaue City; Pagsabungan Church; and SM City Consolacion.
Caindec said the buses will only take passengers outbound, or take them from pick-up point to end point. He said the buses will not take passengers bound for Cebu City, as these buses need to get back to the first pick-up point immediately to pick up more homebound passengers.
One bus will serve senior citizens, persons with disabilities and pregnant women. The ride on all other buses are on a first-come, first-served basis, he said.
Caindec said the buses will be escorted by LTO, LTFRB, HPG and PNP personnel.