Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada will field electric tricycles (e-trikes) in Binondo and Malate next month as part of the gradual introduction of the environment-friendly, battery-operated tricycles in Manila’s streets.
An initial batch of 50 drivers from the local tricycle operators and drivers associations in Malate and Binondo have been selected to become the first recipients of the e-trikes.
Estrada said they have chosen Malate and Binondo Chinatown as the pilot areas of the e-trike program because these are the centers of commerce and tourism of the capital city.
“Aside from helping our tricycle drivers improve their livelihood, we deemed it best to introduce e-trikes in Malate and Binondo to further boost tourism and businesses there,” he said.
Together with Ermita, Malate is one of Manila’s tourist belts and is home to big businesses and resort hotels that have been attracting millions of tourists.
Binondo, on the other hand, is the city’s Chinatown and where most historical and cultural sites and properties of Manila are located.
Estrada stressed that no tricycle or “kuliglig” (motorized pedicabs) drivers in Manila will be displaced as they will be the beneficiaries of the e-trike program, which will have a soft launching on October 15.
“No, we won’t be taking away their source of income. In fact, we will be giving them a better alternative—these battery-run tricycles, which are cheaper and easier to maintain, so their earnings will definitely increase,” he stressed.
Tricycle drivers will be undergoing orientation and seminar on how to operate the e-trikes.
The driver-beneficiaries will only pay P150 to 200 a day for four years for the battery-powered tricycles, he added.
Estrada said the E-trike project in Manila as a means to combat air pollution and improve the livelihood of some 5,000 tricycle drivers in the city and thousands more of “colorum” pedicab drivers who operate without franchises.
The city government has procured an initial fleet of 384 battery-operated vehicles that will be distributed to tricycle drivers through an affordable “boundary-hulog” scheme.
The city government bought the 384 units of e-trikes for more than P145 million or P380,000 each.
An e-trike runs on gel-type batteries than can be fully charged in only four to five hours. It can carry up to seven passengers and has a maximum speed of 40-45 kilometers per hour.