DOST’s hybrid train coming to GenSan in September

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 26 July) – The city government is preparing for the deployment here later next month of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) locally-developed “40-meter train-like bus” dubbed Hybrid Electric Road Train (HERT).

The DOST’s hybrid electric road train (HERT). Photo from the DOST’s MIRDC page

City Councilor Dominador Lagare Jr., chair of the city council’s committee on transportation, said they received confirmation from the agency that the HERT would be arriving in the city before the first week of September.

He said the train will be transported to the city through a chartered vessel or barge after it completes its six-month technology demonstration or test run in Cebu City.

It has been serving commuters in Cebu City and the neighboring areas for free since Feb. 15 as part of the test run.

The HERT, which was launched by DOST in 2015, was designed by Filipino engineers and made with locally available parts, an agency briefer said.

It said the “40-meter long train-like bus” can run at a maximum speed of 50 kilometers per hour and is mainly powered by hybrid diesel fuel and electric-powered battery.

The electric train was designed as energy-efficient vehicle and does not need electricity and suspended cables to operate.

“We’re expecting its delivery before the city’s Tuna Festival on Sept. 5,” he said in a privilege speech during the city’s council’s regular session.

The city government, through Mayor Ronnel Rivera, earlier signed a contract of commodatum with the DOST’s Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) for the use of the HERT.

Commodatum is a “gratuitous contract” that allows a certain party to loan specific chattels for use, with the obligation to return them after an agreed period.

Lagare said DOST-MIRDC officials and engineers had conducted an ocular inspection of the city’s roads and assessed the viability of using the HERT in the area.

The official said the local government will utilize the train to serve the Lagao public market to the city airport route in Barangay Fatima.

It will pass through the national highway and the city’s circumferential road, and will pick up passengers in designated waiting areas, Lagare said.

“Once the bypass road from the city airport to the fishport complex is completed and opened, we will extend the route there,” he said.

Citing the agreement, Lagare said the city will use the train for free for at least five months under the supervision of the DOST-MIRDC.

He said project engineers will train the city government’s personnel on the proper care and maintenance of the train.

But he noted that the DOST is currently “contemplating” on eventually donating the train to the city effective next year.

“We are getting the unit itself, that is, if we want it. We will have the time [during the test run] to decide if we really want to have the road train staying in our midst for good,” he said.

City officials pushed for the deployment of the HERT in the city as it continues to study various alternatives to ease the area’s traffic problems.

The city council is currently working on the passage of the city’s comprehensive transportation ordinance or code

“From what we’ve seen so far, [the train] could be a solution to transport problems all over the country, especially here in the city,” he added. (MindaNews)