In support of the “Libreng Sakay” (free ride) program of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the Novaliches-based Speed Wheelers Transport Cooperative (SWTC) has started offering free rides to daily commuters from Novaliches, Quezon City to MRT North Trinoma and vice versa.
The SWTC management said the conductors of their 26 air-conditioned, electronics and environment-friendly jeepneys or mini-buses are no longer collecting fares from passengers since April 11 in accordance with Phase 3 of the Service Contracting Program directed by DOTr Secretary Art Tugade.
Under the program, drivers and operators of public transport vehicles are given incentives based on the number of trips made every week, with or without passengers.
The SWTC’s 26 modern e-jeepneys, acquired under the Public Utility Vehicles Modernization Program of the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, began operating on the Novaliches-Gen. Luis St.-Mindanao Ave.-MRT North Trinoma route and vice versa last December. Each unit has a seating capacity of 25, including the driver.
The SWTC-operated PUVs do not pass through the Quirino Highway and therefore do not add to its daily congestion.
However, the SWTC drivers are not allowed by management to take passengers along Gen. Luis St. and the entire stretch of Katipunan Ave. extension traversing five adjacent subdivisions in Barangays Nagkaisang Nayon, San Bartolome, Bagbag and a portion of Talipapa to prevent arguments with tricycle drivers and operators in those areas.
Among those benefiting from the SWTC fleet services are employees and other daily commuters from Novaliches and North Caloocan City who usually have trouble getting public transport rides, especially in the morning and evening.
Prior to the free ride program, passengers used to pay PHP35 for a street ride from Novaliches to MRT North Trinoma.
The mini-buses have their terminal near the entrance to the Millionaires’ Village along Gen. Luis St., opposite the SaveMore Mall-Novaliches.
From the Novaliches terminal, the PUVs traverse two kilometers of Gen. Luis St., turn left at Katipunan Ave. extension in Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon, pass through Sierra Vista subdivision, California in San Bartolome, Goodwill and Kingspoint in Bagbag until reaching Mindanao Ave. extension in Barangay Talipapa, from where they cross Quirino Highway on their way to their terminal at MRT Trinoma near the corner of Epifanio Delos Santos Ave. and North Ave. in Barangay Bagong Pag-asa.
Source: Philippines News Agency