My Observations: Las Piñas Is Modernizing Public Transportation With Electric Tricycles (E-Trikes)

In recent times the City Government of Las Piñas headed by its Mayor Imelda “Mel” Aguilar has been making a lot of progress with modernizing public transportation within its jurisdiction by releasing to local tricycle drivers and operators electric tricycle (e-trike) units that they received from the Department of Energy (DOE).

The DOE donated 100 e-trikes to Las Piñas which in turn coordinated with the varied tricycle operators from the city’s twenty barangays. On April 5, 2019, the City Government’s Facebook page posted pictures of its most recent turnover of e-trikes to specific operators. Posted below is one of them.

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Las Piñas City Government officials with the recipients in a turnover ceremony at City Hall. (photo by Shawnette Ramos for City of Las Piñas Facebook page)

Right below is a picture of electric tricycle units that I photographed during my visit at Las Piñas City Hall.

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From my visit at Las Piñas City Hall.

The future of local public transportation in the city is looking bright. Once these electric tricycles go into full operation, the following is expected to happen:

  1. A more comfortable ride for passengers thanks to the new tricycle design. The e-trike is one whole unit (versus the motorcycle linked with a passenger-carrying unit of the old tricycle design).
  2. Reduction on noise pollution because there is no fuel-based engine.
  3. Reduction on air pollution because there is no fuel-based engine and no exhaust.
  4. Complete avoidance on spending money on fuel which by the liter, as of this writing, is expensive. Recharging, not refueling, is the way for E-Trike operators to recover and keep operating the next day.

Think about it carefully. E-Trikes can bring passengers through the quiet villages more safely, quieter and without adding anymore air pollution that would affect families at their homes.

Now that the benefits of E-Trikes have been discussed, it’s time to take a close look as to how these positive developments in Las Piñas happened in the first place.

The answer is City Ordinance Number 1536-18 (Series of 2018). and below is a summary of the details written on it.

The Ordinance

Formally titled “An Ordinance Allowing The Operation of E-Trike in The City of Las Pinas and Providing Guideliness Thereto.”, with “E-Trike Ordinance” as the shorter title, City Ordinance Number 1536-18 (Series of 2018) was approved by the City Council and Mayor Aguilar on May 28, 2018. As written on the Ordinance, it was deemed that the adoption of the e-trike project is a necessary step in combating unreasonable high oil prices and ending dependency on oil. The E-Trike was viewed to be eco-friendly, noise-free and air pollution-free. It has the potential to generate higher income for operators and even create new jobs.

Section 2 of the Ordinance states: The City of Las Pinas fully supports the national government’s e-tricle project. It is also committed in enforcing the applicable provisions of the Clean Air Act and in addressing community concerns about high oil prices, pollution and health hazard as well as in providing new job opportunities.

Section 4 (E-trike Franchise Grant) legalizes the use of electric tricycles within the territorial jurisdiction of the city. For this purpose, one hundred units of three-wheeled electric power driven vehicle or e-trike shall be granted franchise by the City of Las Pinas through the Sangguniang Panglunsod.

Section 5 (Guidelines) states that no e-trike franchise shall be granted unless the unit utilizes environmental-friendly batteries as determined by the Environment and Natural Resources Office, has an on-board charger and is deemed roadworthy while also possessing the required safety features.

The individual applicant is an actual resident and registered voter of the city. The transport cooperative may be granted in its name up to five franchises subject to compliance with the qualification requirements of the drivers.

For E-Trike Rent-To-Own Program or variations thereof and/or meanwhile that the ownership of the unit is not yet fully transferred to the intended buyer, a provisional franchise may be granted in favor of the proponent. Provided, that the qualification requirements of the intended buyers or drivers of the vehicle are complied with.

Section 6 (Parts Availability) – the proponent shall make available within the city such parts as may be needed for the continued operation of the E-Trike.

Section 7 (Charging Stations) – charging stations shall be established in strategic public places in the city. For the total franchises herein fixed, no less than two charging stations shall be required of the proponents to establish. In this regard, not all contemplated franchises shall be issued by the Sangguniang Panglunsod unless the establishment of the charging stations is assured or completed.

Section 8 (Incentives) – Franchisees shall be granted a 50% discount on all fees applicable to trimobiles specifically the franchise fee, the annual supervision fee, the mayor’s permit fee, the legal research fee, the sticker fee and the police inspection fee.

If you wish to obtain copies of the Ordinance, visit City Hall.

Conclusion

With the E-Trike Ordinance in full force, Las Piñas City is clearly on its way forward with modernizing public transportation within its jurisdiction using electric tricycles which serve passengers traveling between the important city roads and the villages.

As far as South Metro Manila is concerned, Las Piñas has joined the electric vehicle bandwagon with Muntinlupa City (which has e-trikes and electric jeepneys already for years) for public transportation.

The City of Parañaque meanwhile remains behind. Last time I checked at Parañaque City Hall, they don’t even have a draft ordinance needed to legalize the use of electric vehicles for public transportation.

Speaking of Parañaque, I can’t forget the embarrassing failed launch of the electric tricycle project of the BF Federation of Homeowner Associations, Inc. (BFFHAI) of 2016. From the way things looked back then, BFFHAI failed to verify if Parañaque (which occupies a huge portion of BF Homes subdivision) had any ordinance legalizing the use of electric vehicles for public transportation. Back then, Las Piñas (which occupies another large portion of BF Homes subdivision) obviously did not have a similar ordinance.

Right now in South Metro Manila, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa are leading the way for public commuters with electric vehicles.

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