LTFRB Reinstates Free Bus and Jeepney Rides on November to December; Manibela Group Urges Another Strike

By: Sophia Pacheco, Thea Divina
October 10, 2023

Amidst another looming transport strike, the government announces the return of the Free Bus and Jeepney Rides from November to December. Photo courtesy of the Manila Standard and the Manila Times.

The government's "Libreng Sakay" or free transportation project for commuters using public utility jeepneys and EDSA buses is set to return starting November 1 and will run through December of this year, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced on Monday.

Teofilo Guadiz III, the chairman of the LTFRB, stated during a press conference held in Quezon City that they are awaiting P1.3 billion from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the free rides along the EDSA Carousel and other areas of Metro Manila.

The chairman also stated that they are attempting to meet the November target because it will be LTFRB's early holiday gift to the Filipino commuters.

"The P1.3 billion budget has already been allocated through a joint memorandum circular. The budget will be released soon. You know, we are chasing November-December to implement it, as an early Christmas gift from the LTFRB," Guadiz stated.

He said that the libreng sakay scheme is a component of the Marcos administration's service contracting program.

DOTr projects 320,000 to 390,000 commuters will benefit from the free ride program.


Transport Group Declares Another Strike

Meanwhile, on the same day (Monday), transport group Manibela announced in a press conference another indefinite nationwide transport strike starting October 16. 

Manibela Chairman Mar Valbuena said 240,000 jeepneys are projected to join said strike.

The transport strike is an agenda of protest and calls for the government to act on the alleged corruption within the LTFRB which was exposed by its Chairman Teofilo Guadiz III's former assistant, Jeffrey Tumbado. 

Valbuena also stated that the scheduled strike is to also convince the government for an extension on the deadline of the traditional jeepney franchise initially set on December 1.