Monday, June 21, 2010
Let's Ride the eJeepney
eJeepney stands for Electric Jeepney, a public-utility vehicle run by electricity. It was first introduced to the country last 2007 as a joint project of Green Renewable Independent Power Producer (GRIPP), which is now called ICSC (Institute of Climate and Sustainable Cities),Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Solar Electric Company or Solarco and the City of Makati. The project is part of Climate Friendly Cities, a campaign that focuses on developing alternative sources of energy such as renewable energy from the sun and wind, to turn away from the use of the dirty fossil fuels such as coal that contributes to climate change.
Since its launch, the campaign continued to grow and it now has stemmed into partnerships with a local manufacturing company called the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (MVPMAP) that produces the eJeepney and with other municipality such as Puerto Princesa City in Palawan.
The project has now succeeded in acquiring regular routes in Makati City in which passengers are enjoying free and quiet rides around the central business district areas. Every 9AM of weekdays they are deploy from the Makati Fire Station that serves as their charging station to Salcedo and Legaspi Villages to pick up passengers and drop them of to Landmark or other key places such as Atrium, RCBC Plaza and Makati Medical Center. eJeepney stop signs are designated to the routes and passengers are just waiting there. They will run up to 4:30-5PM.
The eJeepney is powered by twelve rechargeable batteries, like the ones the runs in a normal vehicle. Each unit is required to be charged for about eight hours and a charger is attached in the vehicle the signals if it has enough power or not. Makati City Police created a new department designated only for driving the eJeepneys. They assigned professional drivers to handle these units. The drivers are the ones in charge of the simple maintenance such as charging and cleaning. The one who handles the technical maintenance of the ejeeps are the technician from the MVP-MAP being supervised by Mr.Jerome Ang the head of operations of ICSC. According to Mr.Ang, they have a regular check-up of the vehicles every Monday morning; the usual problems are just the electrical wirings connected in the headlights and horn which is easy to repair. But when there’s a problem such as melting of batteries or problems in the gears they have to return it to the manufacturer to completely fix the whole unit.
According to the drivers of eJeeps during their first month of driving, the passengers are indifferent on them. They don’t want to ride on it because they don’t believe that it’s free and they are afraid that they might be under arrest because the drivers are still wearing their Makati police uniform. That’s why the drivers are having a hard time in calling for passengers to ride the eJeep.
But now passengers are enjoying this new innovation because they discover that it is much quiet to ride on these eJeepneys and less pollution because it doesn’t emit any carbon emissions. It is also very convenient for them especially for the senior citizens, because it’s much easier for them to ride on it for its lower ramp rather than the high ones from the old jeepneys hence they are always waiting for it in front of Landmark. Many of them are wishing for more eJeeps that will serve the entire Makati and also the other cities of Metro Manila.
According to Mr. Red Constantino, the director of ICSC they are aiming to expand the Makati routes this year and to produce more units in the city. They are planning to start running in Rockwell beginning this July. ICSC are also in talks to other municipality such as Davao City to adopt this kind of innovation and to become part of the Climate Friendly Cities campaign of the organization.
In the span of three years eJeepneys have already achieve so much and they are still continue to grow in serving the people better and promoting a promising clean and safe future for all.