Iloilo City bats for greener commute in first electric bus

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor and Mariela Angella Oladive

Iloilo City is one step closer to transitioning to a sustainable mode of transportation as it welcomes its first-ever electric bus on Friday courtesy of the two top businesses in the city.

This groundbreaking initiative was made possible through the collaboration of SM City Iloilo and MORE Power Iloilo.

Mayor Jerry Treñas expressed his enthusiasm for this initial step towards sustainable transportation and anticipates the integration of more electric buses in the city’s transit system in the years ahead.

“I believe that electric buses are a major step forward in reducing our carbon footprint. They help improve air quality and address noise pollution in our city,” he added.

Trenas noted that the city is making waves as a frontrunner when it comes to the reduction of carbon emissions.

“The effects of climate change are already there. We can only minimize the effects of climate change by going through green alternatives like the e-bus […] we need to move forward, kita ang frontrunner,” he added.

The bus will ply the route of Iloilo City Hall, Ceres Northbound Terminal, and other SM stores in the city.

On behalf of President and CEO Roel Castro, Niel Parcon, Vice President for Corporate Energy Sourcing and Regulatory Affairs of MORE Power, said this groundbreaking innovation is “a game-changing addition to [the] city’s transportation landscape.”

“The SM Iloilo Electric Bus isn’t just any mode of transportation; it represents a new era of mobility that is safer, more comfortable, and environmentally responsible,” he added.

MORE Power is also committed to bringing green technology to the generation as well as to the power user side, “and that we are supportive of the programs and initiatives of Mayor Trenas for the development and progress of Iloilo.”

Parcon said they are expecting the arrival of two units in October and an additional seven units later this year.

Gilbert Domingo, SM City Iloilo Mall Manager, said the SM Iloilo Electric Bus is their affirmation of the city’s sustainability initiative and its goal of giving a better way of life to the Ilonggos.

“With the SM electric bus, transportation in Iloilo City is going to the next level with reduced pollution and congestion,” he added.

The electric bus was procured from Global Electric Transport Philippines, a transportation company that operates relatively more eco-friendly commuter buses across the country.

The bus runs on a nominal voltage of 350V and boasts rapid charging capabilities, going from 20% to 90% charge in just 45 minutes.

It can also travel up to 100 kilometers on a single charge, reaching a maximum speed of 70 km/h.

The bus is also air-conditioned, has ramps for the accessibility of persons with disabilities, Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS-tracked and fleet-managed, and can accommodate up to 35 passengers.

To mark its debut, free rides will be offered from September 15 to 23.

After the free ride period, Ilonggo commuters will need to download the GETPASS app, create an account, join the SM ILOILO Electric Bus organization, acquire membership tokens, and generate a QR code for boarding and disembarking from the bus.