Gov't to deploy e-buses in Makati

Following the launch of e-tricycles and e-jeepneys in the country, the Department of Energy (DOE) is now looking into rolling out e-buses.

Electric vehicles are a crucial element in the government's Alternative Fuels Roadmap, a basic policy framework that aims to diversify power sources for use in transport systems in the country.

In furtherance of this initiative, Philip Apostol —manager of Green Frog Zero Emissions Transport Corp. and son of Rep. Sergio Apostol— disclosed plans to acquire about 3,000 electric buses over the next seven years.

He said that his company plans to get an initial fleet of 38 e-buses from China this year. The 36-passenger buses are to be deployed along various routes in Makati City and will charge just P8 per passenger.

"The plan is to implement the project within 90 days after the signing of the MOA with the Makati LGU. This is a PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) with Makati," Apostol said.

Apostol expects the first shipment of ten buses to arrive within the next three months, and will be plying the Buendia route.

He added that charging stations will be set up in Makati, and the e-buses will be plugged in at night. The cost of charging each bus will run to just P60 for three hours, for a total range of 120km —the equivalent of 15 round trips on the Buendia route.

Green Frog also expects to earn income through advertising.

"About half of the revenues will come from advertising," Apostol said.

Green Frog director Servillano Batac said that the company is currently in talks with the government and potential financiers to implement a "tap-and-go" system for the e-buses.

"The idea is that you will be able to use your MRT cards to pay our electric buses, just like in other countries," Batac said.

Apostol declined to reveal the acquisition cost for the e-buses, but assured that talks are well under way for financing the first phase of the project.

"We hope to reach financial closure in a month," he said.

"If they (government) are serious about this, they should give incentives like duty-free importation of equipment," Apostol added. — TJD, GMA News

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