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Restore free rides on EDSA — congressman 

Commuters endure long lines for free bus rides at the Main Avenue station of the EDSA bus carousel in Quezon City, July 18. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

THE STATE’ s free-ride program should be restored and funded to ease traffic congestion on the main EDSA highway, a congressman said at the weekend. 

“The free ride program will help ease traffic if continued and implemented properly,” Party-list Rep. Wilbert T. Lee said in a Viber message. 

He said the government should use the budgets for nonpriority programs or infrastructure projects 

But experts said the program is flawed. 

“The free ride program was a mistake that happened because of the faulty execution of a flawed service contracting scheme,” Rene S. Santiago, former president of the Transportation Science Society of the Philippines, said in a Viber message.Mr. Santiago noted that if institutionalized, the program could lead to the long-term deterioration of road-based public transport, while commuters would get used to free rides.  

“We will be losing billions of pesos to subsidize the service contracting system,” Nigel Paul C. Villarete, an urban planner and transport expert, said in a Viber message. “The service contracting system will only be good if paired with a fare collection system.” — Kyanna Angela Bulan 

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