By Herbert Vego
THREE months ago, this corner revealed the entry of an electric bus imported by MORE Power and Electric Corp. (MORE Power), which would serve as the prototype of a fleet of emission-free buses that would pick up passengers within Iloilo City and suburbs.
MORE Power President Roel Z. Castro had conceptualized the importation of 10 e-bus units in response to never-ending price hikes of gasoline and diesel.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas claimed the honor of being the first passenger of the first e-bus. Branded Comet, that first unit initially served as shuttle service for company employees.
This is the same unit that can now be seen picking up passengers on specified routes within the city in partnership with SM City Iloilo. Two more units are arriving in October, seven in time for Christmas.
Meanwhile, the good news is that the first unit is available for free to commuters for one week from Sept. 15 to 23.
Starting from the Iloilo City Hall, the bus route starts from City Hall and ends at Ceres Bus Northbound Terminal. From there it goes back to City Hall. You may see MORE Power’s FB page for specific pick-up points at expected time.
Thereafter, it will board passengers based on “membership shuttle service”. Under this concept, for example, business process outsourcing (BPO) companies may facilitate the rides of their office employees and call center agents on time.
It’s because it has an app-based management and payment platform, where a QR code would be good enough to get a ride.
“A game changer” is how Niel Parcon, MORE Power vice president for corporate energy sourcing, describes the e-bus that belches no air pollutants.
It is also PWD-friendly with a ramp and designated seats for the differently able passengers.
According to MORE Power’s assistant to the president, Reynaldo “Rey” Nolasco Jr., the e-bus would need very minimal maintenance because it has no motorized engine. It would noiselessly run on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. A fully-charged battery (45 minutes at a fast-charging station) would allow the bus to travel 100 kilometers at a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour.
On the basis of cost efficiency, an e-bus with a maximum of 30 passengers would only consume five pesos worth of electricity per kilometer.
Ayos! While waiting for our first e-bus ride, kaon ta anay ibus, migo JonCab.
WAITING FOR THE UFO RE-OPENING
WHILE writing this column yesterday, I was hoping for the UFO to let the light motor vehicles “fly”. There had been numerous postponements of the reopening to traffic of the 453.7-meter ₱680 million Ungka flyover (UFO) straddling the highway boundary of Iloilo City and Pavia, Iloilo.
It had been closed to traffic since September 5, 2022 due to “sinking” of some of its piers or foundations. Expensive repairs are still going on.
But as announced by Regional Director Sanny Boy Oropel of the Department of Public Works and Highways-6 (DPWH), the interior lanes of the four-lane flyover could now safely accommodate four-wheeled vehicles, since “comprehensive load testing” had already been done. Unless he was joking, it would end the daily ordeal of motorists inching through congested traffic underneath.
What went wrong in the first place?
A third-party audit done by the Abinales Geotechnical Consultancy Firm traced the problem to the condition of the soil that serves as the foundation of the UFO pillars. Based on that report, the DPWH-6, faulted the United Technology Consolidated Partnership (UTCP) – designer of the flyover — for the “defective” design, hence could be accountable.
Indeed, we ache for justice anchored on identification of accountable organizations and individuals. We can no longer quantify the people’s discomfort that has turned into anger. We motorists and commuters are the “innocent prisoners” who endure snail-pace traffic during rush hours.
Therefore, we amplify the call of the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC) for justice based on facts rather than on mere “feeling ko” or “sa tingin ko” mindset.