Meralco, Aseana eyes electric road train technology
Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - January 6, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Power utility giant Manila Electric Co. and Aseana Holdings are keen on adopting the electric road train system of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said the agency welcomes private companies intending to adopt the ERT technology which is seen to solve the worsening traffic and mass transport problem in Metro Manila.

“We’re glad they are seeing the potential of the ERT to be one of the best possible solutions to our public transportation problem especially in Metro Manila,” Montejo said in an interview with The STAR.

“We understand the acceptance of the technology will come bit by bit. And most likely, when the public see the benefits and when these private groups try out the technology and it works and it is beneficial, then the technology will be embraced by the people,” Montejo said.

Montejo said Meralco, through its unit MRail, has been looking at, and even participating in public biddings for rail projects of the Department of Transportation and Communications.

Aseana Holdings, on the other hand, is reportedly interested in setting up an ERT line in the vast Aseana City central business district located within the Pagcor Entertainment City.

“I think a MOA (memorandum of agreement) has been drafted already,” Montejo said.

It will be recalled the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) earlier expressed its interest in setting up an ERT line inside the Clark economic zone and “Green City” located in Clark, Pampanga.

Laying out an ERT line along EDSA will relieve the congestion by absorbing the excess passengers of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).

Montejo earlier met with executives of bus companies plying EDSA and advised them to form themselves into a corporation or a cooperative to establish an ERT line along EDSA, and gradually give up or phase out their ageing, and smoke-belching buses.

“We really see this as a game-changing, out of the box solution to our problem of severe traffic congestion along EDSA and it should really be given a chance. It is a locally developed technology, Filipino engineers and workers will be put to work to build the road trains, and because of this, we can build and deliver the units fast as less than a year, up to as early as within 10 months,”Montejo said.

Several bus owners have expressed their support to the proposal.

If successful, the road train system can expand into other major public transport routes in Metro Manila such as Quezon Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue, among others.

Designed by Filipino engineers and made with locally available parts, the 40-meter long train-like bus is composed of five interconnected fully air-conditioned coaches, four of which can accommodate 60 passengers each for a total of 240 commuters per ride. The last one is the power coach.

The ERT can run with a maximum speed of 60 kilometers per hour. It is mainly powered by hybrid diesel fuel and electric-powered battery.

The train is designed to be energy-efficient, which means it does not need electricity and suspended cables to operate.

The ERT has very low smoke emission compared with existing mass transport vehicles, making it an eco-friendly mode of transport, the DOST said.

Aside from the ERT project, the DOST is also pursuing an ambitious project to develop an Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) system inside the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City and inside its central office complex in Bicutan, Taguig City.

The AGT adopts a radial wheel tire technology for a rail line system.             


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