THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Central Visayas (LTFRB 7) may end the second phase of its free ride service program for healthcare workers and authorized persons outside of residence (Apor) on Oct. 30, 2021.

This as the budget for the program has almost run out, said LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr.

Dec. 31, 2021 is the scheduled end of the program’s second phase, which started last Sept. 13. The first phase started sometime in the first half of 2021 and ended last June 30.

The second phase has a budget of P358 million sourced from the funds set aside by the General Appropriations Act of 2021 for its mother agency, the Department of Transportation.

The LTFRB 7 allocated P320 million of the budget for operations costs, and it set aside the remaining budget for the salary of LTFRB hired personnel for the program.

“We won’t reach December (for our free ride program). We are hoping that there will be fund appropriation for Phase 3,” he told SunStar Cebu.

The LTFRB 7 served a total of 1,418,084 passengers in Central Visayas from Sept. 13 to Oct. 19.

For the second phase, Montealto said 476 public utility vehicles (PUVs) were deployed, while 20 units were on standby. These units include public utility buses, modern public utility jeepneys, tourist buses and tourist vans. About 446 of the PUVs were deployed in Cebu.

Montealto said they have deployed the maximum number of units against their budget.

The LTFRB 7 chief said they also have to adjust the deployment of PUVs to suit the Apor’s time and additional units were deployed to cater to healthcare workers, resulting in more travel time for PUVs.

Montealto said they are hoping that the budget for a free ride program for healthcare workers, essential workers and other Apor in Central Visayas would be included in the Bayanihan 3, which is still pending in the legislature. (JOB)