Tensions flare in e-jeep dry run

Some tricycle drivers block an electric jeepney (e-jeep) during the first day of their dry run in Barangay Vista Alegre, Bacolod City, Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Eden Thea Aboso/Aksyon Radyo Bacolod)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY — Tensions erupted after some tricycle drivers blocked electric jeepneys (e-jeep) offering a “free ride” during the first day of their dry run in Barangay Vista Alegre here yesterday.

Members of the Arao Vista Alegre Granada Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (TODA) barricaded the exit of an e-jeep from the Arao relocation site. Carlito Ronamo, president of the association, stated in a media interview that they were not informed about the dry run in advance.

Ginapangayo namon nga mga drivers and operators na respetuhon man kami” (We ask that we be respected as well), he added.

Ronamo expressed concerns that allowing the five-day dry run of the e-jeep in the area could paralyze their livelihood. He said they have called on city and barangay officials to consider their position, noting that they have complied with necessary permits to operate in the area.

Councilor Al Victor Espino, chairperson of the Committee on Transportation of the City Council, responded to the tricycle drivers’ concerns. He explained that the dry run aims to respond to residents’ requests for cheaper and more convenient transportation, but reassured them that it would not completely displace tricycles.

“The presence of e-jeep will not totally affect your livelihood as the city recognizes the importance of tricycle drivers,” Espino said.

Espino emphasized that the city plans to study commuter patterns that could be accommodated by the e-jeep route if it becomes permanent.

Indi ni malain para sa inyo (This is not bad for you),” Espino said, adding that this is just a test run.

Indi kami kasiling na mabutang lang kami diri kay gusto lang namon” (We can’t say that we’re just going to establish it here because we want to), he said.

After a brief dialogue, Espino met with the tricycle drivers in a closed-door meeting.

The city government initiated the e-jeep dry run on two routes, known as “green lanes,” from May 15 to 19, following approval from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)-6. During the dry run, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., commuters can ride the e-jeep for free in Barangay Vista Alegre. The route starts from the Arao relocation site, turns left at Burgos Road to the Burgos-Hilado Intersection, and ends there.

Meanwhile, the proposed route for Barangay Cabug is on hold.

These routes are designed to meet the needs of residents not covered by the Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP), aiming to enhance connectivity and provide sustainable transportation solutions.

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