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Marcos extends free EDSA Carousel bus rides; OKs free train rides for students

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday extended free rides at the EDSA Bus Carousel and approved free rides for students on Metro Manila's trains and the Philippine National Railways, the Department of Transportation has announced.

The DOTr said free EDSA Carousel bus rides would be extended until December 2022 while the free train rides for students on the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3), Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT2), and PNR would be from August 22 until November 4, 2022.

Citing a portion of the DOTr memorandum which Marcos approved, the department said it considered the availability of the budget for Service Contracting under 2022 General Appropriations Act for the extension of the free bus rides.

The Transportation Department said the move would “ease the burden of rising living expenses on Filipino families and help them save money, especially with the return of face-to-face classes after more than two years.”

While the government ended the free rides for passengers other than students on MRT3, the DOTr said it recommended free rides for students in MRT3, LRT2, and PNR in consideration of the students’ welfare, “whose learning outcomes have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.”

It said the Department of Education estimated that over 38,000 schools in the country were already set for the resumption of face-to-face classes for the school year 2022-2023.

Meanwhile, in its decision to not extend the free rides in MRT3, which was implemented by the Duterte administration, the DOTr said the fares in the EDSA railway line were "already heavily subsidized.”

This was vital in its decision to recommend discontinuing the free rides for all MRT3 passengers, the Transportation Department said. —NB, GMA News