Made by the Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) of the DOST headed by Asst. Secretary Robert O. Dizon, the hybrid road train cost the government P45 million for the project.
According to Dizon the hybrid road train is a series of five air-conditioned interlinked coaches, four of which can accommodate a total of 60 passengers each, for a maximum of 240 passengers per trip.
It has a maximum speed of 50kph and is powered by a hybrid engine that runs on either diesel fuel or electric batteries.
The rear coach generates the power for the entire transport and is totally and proudly Filipino-made, he added.
CDC President-CEO Arthur P. Tugade said a similar train with the same technology is already in used in San Francisco, USA but the MIRDC-made hybrid road train is the only one of its kind in the Philippines.
Dizon said in April of 2012, the DOST spearheaded the launching of the Makinarya Teknolohiya Para sa Bayan or Makibayan which aimed to strengthen private and public sector linkages.
He said the initiative helped the MIRDC “forged partnership with quite a number of industry associations across various sectors of the metals and engineering industries.”
It is because of this endeavor that the hybrid road train was “conceptualized, implemented and now launched” which is now “among the newest addition to our developed technology,” the assistant secretary said.
For his part, Tugade said it was only last year that CDC silently partnered with DOST to experiment and test the hybrid road rail transit system because of the corporation’s commitment for a green environment and a world class competitive economic zone.
“It was our idea then as it is our plan now that we can have an integrated transport system that will operate within Clark,” Tugade said during the launch.
But the CDC president said the hybrid road train is still a “work in progress; a project in testing and on trial.”
He said CDC’s plan and vision is to have an integrated transport system like the hybrid road train but with only two coaches before the year ends.
“Because as an economic zone we have to measure the travel time between the workplace and the gates which should only be seven minutes maximum,” Tugade said.
He said with the five coaches, it might be difficult to make the turns in road intersections which will prolong the travel time.
Tugade said the concept should be “hop in, hop out” for passengers with fare cards readable with a radio frequency identification (RFID) reader.
It should also have a wi-fi on board since it will be operating inside the freeport, he added.
The DOST said the 40-meter-long hybrid road train is developed to help address the worsening mass transportation problem in Metro Manila and in other urban areas throughout the Philippines.
DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo, who arrived late for the ceremony, said he hopes that with the larger passenger capacity of the hybrid road train, it will be able to absorb more commuters especially during rush hour. “We hope to see them on our streets the moment they are fully commercialized,” he added.
The DOST said the hybrid road train is among those picked by experts to be at the forefront of mass transport in the coming years. Unlike conventional railway systems, the hybrid road train is more energy efficient since there is no need for alternating current running through suspended cables.
It also produces less smoke emissions compared with cars, trucks, or buses, thus creating a smaller carbon footprint and contributing to a cleaner environment The hybrid road train is launched as part of the preparations for DOST’s upcoming 2015 National Science and Technology Week which will run from July 24-28, 2015 at the SMX Convention Center, MOA Complex, Pasay City.