GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 November) — It’s all systems go for the trial run here of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) innovative “40-meter train-like bus” dubbed Hybrid Electric Road Train (HERT).
City Councilor Dominador Lagare Jr., chair of the city council’s committee on transportation, said Tuesday they expect the road train to start its test run in major roads here “within the week.”
“Everything is all set, especially the route and the trial system, and we’re only waiting for the go-signal from the DOST,” he said in an interview over Brigada News TV.
He said the road train, which arrived here late last month following a six-month test run in Cebu City, will cover a total of 17 stops along the national highway from Barangay Tinagacan to the city fishport complex in Barangay Tambler.
It will take off at 4 a.m. in front of the Tinagacan Elementary School and will mainly cater to teachers, fishport and tuna canning workers, he said.
Lagare said the road train will operate four round trips daily, with two in the morning and two in the afternoon.
The road train was designed to only carry 240 passengers at one time but he said they estimated that around 1,800 passengers would be accommodated for every trip in the entire route.
Since the HERT is still on trial run, he said the passengers were pre-selected by the DOST and the local government.
The official said they had conducted the pre-registration of passengers in barangays covered by the route.
“The entire test run is subsidized by the DOST so the rides would be free for all passengers,” he said.
Citing the local government agreement with the DOST, Lagare said the road train’s trial period will initially run until Dec. 31.
But he said the agency has already sought the release of additional budget to extend the test run to another six months.
The city government and the DOST had signed a contract of commodatum 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.
The HERT, which was developed by DOST’s Metals Industry Research and Development Center, is a “40-meter long train-like bus” that can run at a maximum speed of 50 kilometers per hour and is powered by hybrid diesel fuel and electric-powered battery.
The train consists of five interlinked air-conditioned coaches that can hold up to 240 passengers per trip.
It is powered by a generator set and a series of batteries, with each coach driven by an electric drive motor.
The deployment of the road train is expected to help ease the city’s traffic problems, especially during the peak hours in the morning and late afternoon.
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. (MindaNews)