One might notice over the past several months how the face of mass public transportation in GenSan has changed a bit. Tricycles, long the near-undisputed king of the city’s roads for years now, finds itself sharing its space with more and more alternative public vehicles. One example is the fleet of white multi-cabs that ply a route connecting the “mall area” and Mabuhay Road. The city government has even begun tests on more esoteric transports like electronic vehicles and a “land-train” bus, much to the threats of protests from tricycle TODAs. It hasn’t stopped a test run for E-trikes though.

TV Patrol SOCSKSARGEN reports that five brand new electronic tricycles (E-trikes) are going to be put through their paces on the streets of GenSan starting Tuesday, January 9. The vehicles, which some Generals may have seen parked in display in front of the SP Building, were on loan to the LGU from a private company. During the e-trike’s trial run, which will run for three months, they will be picking up passengers and dropping them off their destinations free. The larger and sleeker tricycles are being considered to be an eventual replacement to the predominantly blue-colored gasoline-powered old city trikes.

These e-trikes were manufactured by Beam Metrical Alternative Creation (BMAC) a Japanese-owned company that makes electronic vehicles for public use. Four of them have been designated for testing in picking up passengers on the road without fare. It’s likely that the trial run serves to acclimatize Generals to the concept of e-trikes for public transport in GenSan, with its roomier design compared to gasoline tricycles. It being just a test run, the e-trike routes will only service four barangays from the city center: Apopong, City Heights, Mabuhay and Conel. These four are part of the LGU’s proposed “White” tricycle zone.

Regular tricycle drivers were selected to serve as test pilots for the e-trikes, and thus far their opinions of the electrical vehicle have been positive. Test driver Reylan Pabriga notes how on his gas-powered trike he averages a daily expense of P200 to keep his ride fueled, and that is if there are no sudden price hikes. In comparison, a 4-hour full-day charge of the e-trike he is breaking in for the LGU would be worth only P80.

BMAC sales manager Cyril Aguadera also pointed out the environmental advantages of widely using e-trikes, most importantly the lack of emissions. About the only thing that keeps most GenSan TODAs sour on the e-trike is its prohibitive P495,000 unit price. City councilor and transportation committee chairman Jun Lagare would much like the e-trikes to be introduced as a long-needed reform of the city’s public transport infrastructure. He has proposed the forming of new cooperatives to help drivers afford the new e-vehicles being tested, along with calls for possible subsidy aid from the national government.

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