MANILA – The Quezon City government has literally been hitting at least "two or more birds with one stone" through the "Libreng Sakay" (free ride) program which it launched a year ago on Tuesday.
Aside from providing free bus rides to daily commuters along several major routes throughout the city, the city government under Mayor Joy G. Belmonte is also promoting the numerous historical and tourist sites found in its six congressional districts composed of 142 barangays.
The officials of the QC Bus Augmentation Program (QCBAP) and the City's Parks and Administration Department have teamed up to install replicas of the city's several historical landmarks, monuments, and tourist spots on both sides of the buses participating in the program.
In addition, they have used the space at the back of the bus to convey a message of gratitude to the residents for being partners of the local government in the continuing growth of the country's erstwhile capital city: "Kasama Ka Sa Pag-Unlad" (you are part of progress).
Belmonte earlier said her administration contracted at least 80 air-conditioned buses from the Five-Star and other transportation companies to provide free ride to commuters along eight major routes in the city under the QCBAP.
It was launched on Dec. 7, 2020 as early Christmas gift to residents who have been experiencing difficulty in getting rides in public buses and jeepneys on their way to work or school and other destinations amid the pandemic restrictions.
It has been going on daily since then.
The routes are Quezon City Hall-Cubao; QC Hall-Litex/(Interim Batasang Pambansa (IBP) Road; Welcome Rotonda-Aurora Blvd./Katipunan Avenue; QC Hall-General Luis (Novaliches); QC Hall-Mindanao Ave./Quirino Ave.; QC Hall-Gilmore Ave.; ,QCHall-C5/Ortigas Ave. Extension; and QC Hall-Munoz.
Among the monuments and landmarks featured on the QCBAP buses are: The Manuel L. Quezon monument at the main QC Hall compound in Barangay Central; Quezon Memorial Shrine at the QC Circle, Elliptical Road; Andres Bonifacio/Unang Sigaw monument in Balintawak; Tandang Sora National Shrine in Banlat, Barangay Tandang Sora,; Inang Bayan monument at Epifanio Delos Santos Ave. (EDSA) and Quezon Ave.; Welcome Rotonda at Quezon Ave. and E. Rodriguez Ave.; People Power monument at Ortigas Ave. and EDSA; University of the Philippines Oblation, Carillon, and Observatory, all in Diliman; and Don Alejandro A. Roces Circle in Barangay Paligsahan.
Daily commuters from Novaliches and other parts of QC, especially students and employees who receive minimum wage, have hailed the city government's decision to maintain its free ride project.
They are hoping that Belmonte would make the program permanent throughout her current administration and even beyond.
In Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon, Barangay Chairperson Feliciano "Sonny" Dela Cruz said the terminal of the Five-Star buses is at the corner of Gen. Luis St. and Katipunan Ave. extension.
Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon is the northernmost area of Novaliches, Quezon City, bordering with North Caloocan City and Valenzuela City. (PNA)