The electric tricycle or E-Trike program of Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada finally kicked off on Wednesday with the formal turnover of 50 environment-friendly tricycles to the first batch of driver-beneficiaries in Binondo.
Estrada hopes his E-trike project will help uplift 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,” the Manila mayor pointed out.
“Here, they don’t need to pay any ‘boundary’ [installment payments],” Estrada added, “and the costs of charging their E-trikes’ batteries will even be subsidized by the city government.”
The Estrada administration is launching its E-trike project to combat air pollution and improve the livelihood of some 1,500 legally franchised tricycle drivers in the city.
Aside from these, there are about 25,000 colorum tricycles, pedicabs and kuliglig or motorized pedicabs operating in the city.
The city government has bought 280 units of E-trikes, at P400,000 each, for distribution this year. The Manila Electric Co. or Meralco has constructed several charging stations, the first in Binondo.
The Japanese-manufactured E-trikes run on gel-type batteries than can be fully charged in just five hours. It can carry up to six passengers and has a maximum speed of 40-45 kilometer per hour (kph).
Estrada said the city government will procure “thousands” more of these E-Trikes to gradually replace fuel-run tricycles in the coming years, thus complementing the city government’s efforts to reduce air pollution in the city.
“They would be driver-operators in a matter of four years. How much to they need to pay daily? (A small amount). They’ll even charge their batteries for free,” he added.
The E-trikes will be financed through a “boundary-hulog” system where the driver-owners will only pay the city government P250 a day for four years at zero interest, Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau chief Dennis Alcoreza said.
The E-Trikes will have exclusively franchised routes, so as not to compete with fuel-run tricycles, he added.
The first batch of 50 beneficiaries were all residents of District 3, which has been chosen as the pilot site for the E-trike project. The district covers the areas of Binondo, Quiapo, San Nicolas, and Sta. Cruz.
E-Trikes will also be introduced in Malate, Ermita, and University Belt, per Alcoreza.
“This project is entirely a livelihood program for the masses. The city of Manila is not intending to profit from this livelihood program, unlike other financing institutions. We’ll have no profits, no add-ons,” Alcoreza stressed.
“We just want to provide the poorest of the poor the opportunity to earn more for them to improve their kind of living,” he added.