Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Borongan City Institutionalizes Free Bus Rides


Borongan City Institutionalizes Free Bus Rides


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The city government of Borongan in Eastern Samar has institutionalized the “Libreng Sakay” (free ride) program to make transportation more accessible, especially to those who cannot afford to pay regular fares.

Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda, in a statement Friday, said the free ride service, available from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, is only available for senior high school and college students, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and government health workers.

The city government enacted on May 15 the “Borongan City Libre Sakay Ordinance of 2024” to support the program.

The free ride, formally launched on May 20, uses an innovative bus system application developed by a group of computer engineering students of the Eastern Samar State University (ESSU) in Borongan City and supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

“Through the efforts of the different stakeholders like ESSU and DOST, we were able to offer free rides and help the local government bridge the gap between different communities and promote a more inclusive and cohesive city today and in the future,” Agda added.

The city government limits the number of recipients so as not to reduce the income of tricycle drivers. Two buses have been assigned under the program.

The mobile application enables passengers to track buses, inform them of upcoming stops and arrival times, and scan quick response (QR) codes or access cards, which will be given by the local government to the beneficiaries, for use by registered passengers to avail of the service.

Beneficiaries will have to scan their cards using a scanner found near the bus driver upon boarding. It allows the bus to record the number of passengers and report to its server when the bus reaches its full capacity, notifying other waiting passengers using the application.

Those who use cards that belong to intended beneficiaries will be subjected to a fine of not less than PHP500 but not more than PHP5,000 or imprisonment, subject to the discretion of the court.

Violation of this will also be grounds for the automatic cancellation of privileges.

Considered disqualified are students who will drop from school or transfer to another school outside Borongan City, residents who will transfer their voter’s registration to other towns, and health workers who stopped working in the government. (PNA)

Photo credit: Facebook/borongancityinfo

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