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A gift to commuters

By: Editorial December 23,2016 - 10:28 PM


We certainly hope that the hybrid train recently donated by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to Cebu City would prove useful to both city residents and visitors and help ease the number of stranded commuters in the city streets.

If one were to notice the past few days have weighed down heavily on the riding public as the traffic congestion worsened to the point that taxis and even members of the transport network services like Uber and Grabcar were unable to accommodate the large volume of commuters who have to stand for hours until late at night just to get a ride home.

It is just unfortunate that the holiday season rush meant there would be more people crowding the streets and even celebrating in them which would constrict the already limited road space to both commuter and motorist alike.

Enter the hybrid train which former mayor Michael Rama signed up for at the DOST as part of the city government’s efforts to provide alternative, cheaper transport to the commuters.

At the outset, the hybrid train is a simple yet considerably impressive achievement by local scientists to manufacture public transport that won’t rely heavily on so-called fossil fuel since it runs on both unleaded gasoline and solar powered batteries.

It represents a small breakthrough by the national government in pursuing cleaner mass transport that can be available to all free of charge. Though we are disheartened by the House transport committee’s finding that the hybrid train isn’t as viable in Metro Manila owing to its low speed and limited running time.

Here in Cebu City, the hybrid train won’t charge fare to those willing to ride it, and the city government already worked out a proposed route that won’t aggravate traffic and not compete with existing passenger jeepneys as well as modern and antiquated mass transport.

The question is, will it work or will it just be a fancy niche sort of mass transport that would cater only to a select small segment of the riding public? The hybrid train would start off and end at the North Reclamation Area and can service those commuters heading to a mall, P. del Rosario Street and even Osmeña Boulevard, and it is no small coincidence that some of these areas will also be included in the proposed service route for the long gestating Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

But unlike the BRT whose units are more maneuverable, the hybrid train as its name implies can only run through a straight path and would find it difficult to backtrack. Despite these limitations, it appears to be in the city’s best interest to make the hybrid train work.

The city government can perhaps conduct an aggressive promotional campaign to the public to patronize its use and further refine its operation once it makes its debut on February next year so it won’t be a wasted Christmas gift from the national government.

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TAGS: Car, Cebu City, city government, department of science and technology, DOST, Holiday Season, holidays, mass transport, Michael Rama, taxi, train, Uber, volume

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