by Jaimie Rose Aberia
The Manila city government on Wednesday turned over the first batch of 50 electric tricycles or e-trikes to tricycle drivers in Binondo.
Mayor Joseph Estrada said he hopes the e-trikes will help improve the lives of the city’s “poorest of the poor” by providing them with an alternative and sustainable source of income.
“This is primarily a livelihood program with the main objective of providing our poor tricycle and kuliglig drivers an ‘upgraded’ public transport vehicle which they can call their own, and from which they could earn more,” Estrada said.
The driver of the e-trikes will pay the city government R250 a day for four years at zero interest, Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) chief Dennis Alcoreza said.
The cost of charging the e-trike’s battery will be shouldered by the Manila. The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has set up charging stations for the electric vehicles – the first one in Binondo.
The Japanese-manufactured e-trikes run on gel-type batteries than can be fully charged in four to five hours. It can carry up to six passengers and has a top speed of 40 to 45 kilometers per hour (kph).
The first beneficiaries are residents of District 3, which has been chosen as the pilot site for the e-trike project. District 3 covers the areas of Binondo, Quiapo, San Nicolas, and Sta. Cruz.
The vehicles will also be introduced in Malate, Ermita, and University Belt, according to Alcoreza.
He also said that e-trikes will have exclusively franchised routes so as not to compete with fuel-run tricycles.
The city government bought 280 e-trikes, at R400,000 each, for distribution this year.
Estrada said the city government will buy thousands more of the e-trikes to gradually replace fuel-run tricycles and complement Manila’s efforts to cut air pollution.