CAGAYAN DE ORO — At least 500 electric jeepneys are expected to ply this city’s roads next year, in a move seen to prepare the city’s transport sector for the eventual phase out of dilapidated public utility vehicles (PUVs).
Bernardo Jamaca, president of Cagayan de Oro First Taxi Drivers Alliance (Cafitada), said the 500 units of e-jeepneys will be provided by Australia-based Star 8 Green Technology Corporation.
Watch the Star 8 Green Technology project
Jamaca said the project is a partnership between Star 8 Green Technology and Cafitada, which started as an organization for taxi drivers but has grown to become an umbrella group for all public transport associations including Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJs).
Under the partnership agreement signed between the two enties, the Australian firm will mass produce the battery-operated jeepneys for Cafitada members for free.
In return, Cafitada recipient-members will retire their dilapidated PUJ units and to ensure that every e-jeepney unit is not altered or re-modelled in any way.
Jamaca said the Australian firm would recoup the cost for assembling each e-jeepneys by putting advertisements on the exterior portions of each e-jeepney.
The Cafitada president also allayed fears that the additional infusion of 500 e-jeepneys on the road would aggravate traffic, pointing out that the agreement requires the retirement of the same number of PUJs.
Under the Department of Transportation (DOTr)’s Public Utility Vehicles (PUV) Modernization Program, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will no longer renew the yearly franchises of operators plying dilapidated PUJs.
Jamaca also addressed concerns of rising fare rates, assuring commuters that e-jeepney operators will adhere to LTFRB regulations governing diesel-run PUJs.
To make the venture with the Australian firm sustainable, Jamaca said Cafitada will organize a fleet management cooperative to manage their e-jeepney fleet.
Cooperative members, he said, will have full ownership of their e-jeepney units after five years.
Star 8 Green Technology will deliver the first batch of e-jeepneys to Cafitada in January 2018, while the rest will be delivered by year end. (PNA/Mark D. Fancisco)