Based on the number of electric jeepneys plying the city of Muntinlupa, it is easy to see why it was declared Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) as the current “e-jeepney capital of the country. “
Building its reputation as the greenest city in the country pivoted around its advocacy to extensively use electric jeepneys in specific sites in the city. This clear and deliberate policy compels the local government unit to run a viable and enviable local transport system using efficient and non-polluting e-jeepneys.
Muntinlupa City is an early adopter among the local government units in fielding the eco-friendly electric vehicles.Currently it has the most number of e-jeepneys running in one city, thanks to the efforts of the local government unit and the private sector alike.
In 2015, the city registered 14 e-jeepneys. Today there are over 30 operating electric vehicles plying specific routes in the city. Providing both free rides and Rommel Juan, president of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) observes that the city gives free rides to its residents and they love it.
Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi launched this pioneering program using smart cards. Holders who possess the cards can use the free green public transport system. But the popular program is inclusive, and those without a yellow card holder, need only to sign a logbook and the ride is free.
“It truly is a remarkable effort by the local government in introducing green transport to more commuters and gaining acceptance for them. Their operations template is definitely something worth emulating by other LGUs in other parts of the country,” Juan says.
The EVAP president says the Green Public Transport System of Muntinlupa is a prime example of the political will of eco-friendly LGU officials that other LGUs may learn from.
“We hope that more cities introduce electric vehicle initiatives in their own areas in other parts of the country and push the modernization of our public transport system,” Juan encourages.
A quick look at the Barangay Hall in Muntinlupa reveals ten yellow e-jeepneys parked at their respective charging bays. Just right across the Barangay Hall inside the South Star Jeepney Terminal, there are two parking slots allotted specifically for e-jeepneys. Two additional e-jeepneys are fielded inside the plush Ayala Alabang Village.
The biggest electric fleet in the city however is the e-jeepney public transport system being managed by EVEEI or the Electric Vehicle Expansion Enterprises Inc. inside Filinvest City Alabang. EVEEI was given the right to operate a fleet of electric jeepneys within the 240-hectare Filinvest City, the flagship real estate development of the Filinvest Development Group.
Called the Filinvest City 360 Eco Loop, about 20 e-jeepneys service the bustling population of workers, office staff, shoppers, visitors and residents of the huge mixed-use real estate development.
EVEEI General Manager Rex Vergel says that by taking a ride in one of their e-jeepneys, one will experience the quiet and convenience of an electric vehicle which is in stark contrast to the smoky and noisy traditional jeepneys.
“We have effectively organized our e-jeepney and determined the optimum dispatch schedule to maximize efficiency in our operations. We have also learned a lot in terms of battery charging and maintenance,” says Vergel.
“Now, not only do we have an operational template that ensures efficiency but also an effective proof of concept that EV technology really works for mass transport operations.” ( Desmond G.E. Tribdino, Malaya)