By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
While all forms of mass transportation were shut down due to the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon brought by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a group of e-scooter owners has launched a campaign to lend electric scooters for frontliners affected by the lockdown.
Electric Kick Scooter Philippines (EKSPH), recently started its “Lend-a-
scooter” project which aims to provide personal mobility devices as an alternative mode of transportation for frontline health workers.
Timothy Vargas, one of the founders of EKSPH, said their group’s campaign was inspired by a “Lend-a-bike” project established by Life Cycles PH also for health care frontliners who are having a hard time getting to their places of work.
“The campaign is to lend scooters, basically because, during this enhanced [community] quarantine period, our scooter units are underutilized so we are not able to use it,” Vargas told the Manila Bulletin.
According to Vargas, the group kicked off its campaign in partnership with the Pasig City local government to equip its frontline personnel and health workers.
“After our successful launching in Pasig, we started rolling out our campaign in other private hospitals until I was tapped by DOTr Assistant Secretary Mark De Leon to partner with the Philippine General Hospital,” Vargas said.
“We identified that the majority of the PGH employees are residing within the Manila area only which is sometimes too far for walking and too far for a car — it’s just in between,” he added.
Vargas, and other members of the EKSPH, led the turnover of the initial units borrowed by PGH health workers on Thursday.
“Nahihirapan kami logistically but our target talaga is 100 units. Now, ang nasa inventory namin na kaya naming makuha agad is around 35. Our commitment to PGH is 20 units by the end of the month, 19 for Pasig City, and five to seven units within our community,” Vargas explained.
(We are experiencing difficulty in logistics but our target is actually 100 units. Now, bases on our inventory, the number of units that we can get right away is around 35. Our commitment to PGH is 20 units by the end of the month, 19 for Pasig City, and five to seven units within our community.)
PGH Spokesperson Dr. Jonas Del Rosario said the Lend-a-scooter campaign of EKSPH is a big help for the mobility of their employees who are mostly walking from their home to the hospital as public transport services were stopped.
Dr. Del Rosario also mentioned they are worried about the safety of their health workers when walking home, especially those who are residing a bit far from the hospital.
“Kung mapapahiram natin itong mga electric scooters, dalawa ang mangyayari — una, mababawasan ang pagod nila sa paglalakad, makakarating sila agad sa kanilang pupuntahan at makapunta din sila sa PGH nang mabilis. Pangalawa, at least sigurado kami na kahit kalagitnaan ng gabi ay mayroon silang masasakyan at makakauwi sila nang safe,” he emphasized.
(Through borrowing these e-scooters, the fatigue being experienced by our employees will reduce as they will be able to get to their destinations immediately and they will be able to go to PGH quickly. Second, we are sure that even at night, our employees can go home safely.)
The hospital official added that these scooters would also help employees swiftly transfer to other departments and buildings within the 10-hectare PGH compound.
Meanwhile, Vargas assured that these e-scooters are easy to use and maintain, with charging time of at least two to three hours that could transport a rider to 20 to 40 kilometers in a single charge.
Ranging from P20,000 for entry-level to P350,000 for premium units, Vargas added that apart from mobility, e-scooters are also eco-friendly with zero-emission, low carbon footprint, and less noise pollution.