Students Appeal to DOTr for Extended Hours of Free Train Rides
Students appealed to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to extend the hours for the free rides on the railway systems in Metro Manila which started last Monday.
Irish Buendition, a sophomore college student from the University of the East, said she takes the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) daily on her way to her classes which starts in the afternoon until evening.
“Para sa akin nakakatulong yung Libreng Sakay pero usually sa mga college students hapon hanggang gabi yung klase. So di kami nakakaabot doon (The free rides are a big help for the commute of students but usually those in college have classes in the afternoon until the evening. So we are not able to avail that),” Buendition told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
“If ma-extend siya OK kasi wala naman pong may ayaw kasi malaking tulong yun para sa mga commuters (It’s OK if this will be extended because that will really help the commuters),” added Buendition, who usually takes a train ride at the LRT-2 Santolan station in Pasig City.
The LRT-2 offers free rides to students up to college level as well as those taking up technical-vocational courses from 4:30 AM to 6 AM and from 3 PM to 4:30 PM on Monday to Friday except holidays.
Students may also avail of free rides on the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) from 5 AM to 6:30 AM and from 3 PM to 4:30 PM as well as the Philippine National Railways (PNR) from 5 AM to 6 AM and from 3 PM to 4 PM.
“Masyado pong maaga sa akin yung schedule. Preferable sa akin kung ma-extend pa po yung Libreng Sakay (The schedules are too early for me. It’s preferable that the hours for the free rides be extended),” said Val Batica, a freshman college student from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Rich Daniel Lozano, a college student from the National University, said the free rides mean saving on his daily fare traveling from Marikina to the University Belt in Manila.
“Malaking tipid sa pasahe yung Libreng Sakay katulad ko galing ako sa Marikina papuntang Legarda. Malaking bagay po ito lalo na sa mga everyday commuters (I can save costs on my travel through the free rides as I come from Marikina going to Legarda. This is very beneficial to everyday commuters),” he said.
In an earlier press briefing, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the schedules for the free rides are aimed to encourage students to go to school early and ease traffic congestion during rush hours. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Apparently, the concept of night-time classes for college students is alien to the officials of the DOTr)
Students have to register online in the websites of the DOTr, MRT-3, and Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) to avail of the Student Free Ride ID. They may also apply for such ID at DOTr help desks located at the MRT, PNR, and LRT-2 stations
For the initial implementation though, students may present their school IDs at the train stations to avail of the free rides.
Aside from the free train rides, students will also not be charged terminal fees in all airports and ports across the country.
Terminal fees will be waived for students in airports starting August 1 while terminal fees in ports are free beginning July 16, according to the DOTr.
In a separate report, the DOTr reported that on July 1, the first day the free train ride was implemented, over 3,000 students availed of the benefit—668 for the MRT-3, 1,803 for the LRT-2, and 559 for the PNR.
The agency estimates that, at an average cost of PHP20 a ride, multiplied twice for the trip to and from school, multipled further by 22 school days in a month, and finally multiplied by 10 academic months, the free LRT-2 ride will save a student PHP8,800 annually whereas the savings for those who take the MRT-3 and the PNR will be PHP10,120 and PHP6,600, respectively.
“Such amounts could be utilizeed by the students for their other school needs and requirements,” the DOTr said in a statement. “These could go to their baon (allowance), projects, uniform, books, reading materials, and many others. It is the DOTr and its attached afencies’ humble contribution in making the Filipino life comfortable.”