MANILA, Philippines – The ubiquitous jeepneys (or locally known as ‘dyipni’) in Metro Manila streets will soon be an endangered species, at least according to executives of Global Electric Transportation (GET) Philippines.
Metro Manila’s ‘king of the road’s’ days may soon be numbered and toppled off its track by a revolutionary and modernized E-shuttle known as COMET, designed and created by GET Phils.
COMET (City Optimized Metro Electric Transport) promises to replace jeepneys in metro streets and roads as well as bring a new face to Philippine transport system that has long been dominated by mostly clunky, noisy and antiquated jeepney.
The COMET E-shuttle introduces several technologies that will both help ease the plight of commuters and shame the jeepney, in comparison.
First to go will be the annoying ‘bayad po’ (here’s the fare’) and ‘barya lang po sa umaga’ (I need change in the morning) distractions among passengers and drivers alike. Instead, COMET will use a cashless system, much like the MRT does. Passengers will purchase credit-loaded cards, tap into the shuttle’s scanner upon boarding and tap out before getting off the vehicle.
COMET will be powered by electricity, making it environment-friendly, compared to the primitive jeepney, which is primarily blamed for its massive contribution to air pollution in cities.
According to Armi Consunji, director for communications for GET Philis., among the competitive advantages COMET has over jeepneys are the following;
– State-of-the-art lithium iron phosphate batteries that will allow it to travel 80 to 100 kilometers a day before recharging. Batteries are also expected to last 7 years unlike the ordinary ones used in other e-vehicles which needs to be replaced every year.
– It is wider and more comfortable. It has a head clearance of 6 feet so most people can stand inside the vehicle.
– Its doors are on the side making it safer for passengers to get off to the sidewalk even during traffic, and not between cars like jeepneys with doors at the back.
– It has better ventilation because of wider windows. COMET will also be provided with GPS, WiFi and a CCTV camera and will be connected to a Command Center for monitoring. With these technologies, Consunji said, they can easily assess locations where shuttles are required or not.
– Compared to jeepneys with an average weight of 6,000 lbs, it is much lighter at only 2,500 lbs.
Although a little bit slower than its competitors at a maximum speed of 60kph, GET Phils. said it will just be enough for city traffic since COMET is designed for in-city driving and not for major thoroughfares and expressways.
The first batch of 30 COMETS will ply the metro route in January 2014 and is lauded as the first in the world. Its introductory itineraries will include SM North in Quezon City to SM Megamall in Pasig along Quezon Avenue, University of the Philippines – Diliman campus, Katipuna Avenue, Eastwood Libis and Ortigas with abbreviated stops every 200 to 300 meters.
Besides revolutionizing the Philippine transport, GET Phils. is also aiming to make the country as its manufacturing hub. As to why they chose Metro Manila for its pilot release, GET CEO Kent Montler said, “The Philippines is a great place to showcase what we want to do because we have cities that suffer from congestion, noise and air pollution. We want to give the city back to the people,”
According to Consunji, 600 COMETs are expected to be released in the first three months of 2014 and a total of 4,000 will soon be seen in the streets by 2015.