This time, the tricycle.
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The Asian Development Bank, the United Nations’ Clean Technology Fund, and the Philippine government will be providing $500 million in loans and funds to roll out 100,000 electric tricycles in an effort to replace the gasoline-powered ones that currently ply its cities. According to the ADB, the “e-trikes” will provide an alternative to the inefficient, gas-guzzling, and smoke-belching motorized tricycles that ferry Metro Manila residents through the numerous side streets of the bustling metropolis.
For the project, the ADB will lend the Philippines $300 million, $105 will come from a soft loan and grant from the UN Clean Technology Fund, and $99 million will be provided by the Philippine government. Aside from the e-trikes, the funds will also be used to put up solar charging stations so the trikes can be powered up with free and clean power, without needing to draw expensive and dirty power from the electrical grid.
The ADB says that the e-trikes, powered by an electric motor with rechargeable batteries, will cost only $1.20 for a daily charge compared to the $6-8 in fuel that a regular tricycle consumes every day. The trikes have already been tested in a pilot project where 20 such vehicles have been in service at a selected area of Manila since last year, generating favorable results and reactions from the affected community.
Spending $500 million to replace only 100,000 out of an estimated 3.5 million gas-powered tricycles all over the country may not seem like a lot, but it is a step in the right direction and if this project proves that such an alternative is indeed feasible and there scalable, then it could be the step that our antiquated and inefficient transportation system needs to finally start upgrading.
Hopefully this ADB-funded project does much better than the highly-touted e-jeepney that tried to make a splash here in Bacolod a couple of years ago, and yet for some inexplicable reason, never really made enough inroads to make a difference.*