Remember the presentation last April about the “green” jeepney of the future attended by no less than US President Barack Obama?
Well, this e-jeepney called COMET (which is actually an acronym for City Optimized Managed Electric Transport) has now finally hit the streets of Metro Manila with its official launch over the weekend at SM North EDSA.
A brainchild of transport solutions company GET (which stands for Global Electric Transportation) Philippines, the COMET is an electric-powered jeepney which boasts some advanced features like wi-fi access, LED TV screens, CCTV system that captures each passenger riding the vehicel, and contactless payment.
That’s right, you can say goodbye to bills and coins when paying the fare as COMET uses a reloadable tap card for payment, the same way buses in other countries use tap cards now.
Each unit can carry up to 20 seated passengers, with a wide space that can accommodate standing passengers in an SRO setup. Up to how many standing passengers it can accommodate though is something that has not been addressed yet.
Apart from being environmentally-friendly hese vehicles are optimized to run up to 40 kilometers/hour, so there is no danger of overspeeding vehicles. In addition, they can run up to 10 hours before they would need to be recharged for about 4 hours.
For now, the COMET e-jeepneys will ply one route from SM North to Aurora Boulevard at the Line 2 Katipunan Station, passing by Mindanao, Congressional, and Katipunan Avenues. But at this early stage, one major group of jeepney operators, PASANG MASDA, has seen the viability of these vehicles that they are seen to replace the existing jeepneys in the long-run. In fact, the group has already made a commitment with GET Philippines to acquire 10,000 units of these vehicles through a financing scheme with operators.
This would also benefit the drivers as they will only work 8 hours a day and also get benefits like Philhealth, SSS, and insurance coverage. Operators also benefit that they will not have to worry about unit maintenance since GET Philippines will take care of that for them.
It remains to be seen whether COMET will define the future of the jeepney. Nevertheless, there is reason to be hopeful that it would help pave the way to improve not only the state of the jeepney but also that of public transportation and usher in a new age of environmentally-safe vehicles and commuters getting the comfort they deserve.
For more information on GET Philippines and COMET, check out the GET Philippines Facebook page.