CEBU CITY – More than 100 units of electric buses are soon to ply the streets of Cebu and the other cities in the Philippines to revolutionize the public transport system in the country. These are referred to as “Green Transportation” that have a lower impact on the environment than traditional vehicles powered by fossil fuels.
The GET COMET bus and Gordon Alan Joseph, director and president of GET Green Transport Cebu Inc.
"Overall, green transportation is an important part of the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable mobility. It’s high time for Cebu to have them,” says Gordon Alan Joseph, director and president of GET Green Transport Cebu Inc., in an interview with this writer.
Joseph said that by choosing environmentally-friendly modes of transportation, individuals can make a positive impact on the environment and
their health. “We are looking at electric vehicles, good reliable transport system that are clean and environmentally friendly and we, at GET Green Cebu are offering the alternative, Joseph added.
Joseph revealed that to date, there are only more than 80 units of these “Green buses” operating in the country and they are in Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Batangas, Baguio, Davao City, Cebu City, Boracay and in Dumaguete City.
“We started the GET Green Transport Cebu in April 2022 as a franchise holder of GET Philippines here and since then, more cities in the Visayas are interested to go green transport as shuttle buses for companies and local government units,” Joseph said.
According to Joseph, the cities of Cebu, Lapulapu, Mandaue and Danao are bullish to buy more than 100 units of these buses for their respective constituents and there are several universities and private companies that are interested to have these buses.
Joseph went on that the transportation industry in the Philippines has been steadily growing in recent years, driven by increasing urbanization, population growth, and rising demand for efficient and reliable transportation services.
The government has also been investing in infrastructure projects, such as expanding the road networks and improving public transportation systems, which could benefit private transportation operators like GET Green Transport, Inc.
“Cebu is a major city in the Philippines, with a large population and a thriving economy. With its growing population and increasing traffic congestion, there is a strong demand for reliable and efficient transportation services in the city. Get Green Transport, Inc. could potentially benefit from this demand by providing eco-friendly and affordable transportation options,” Joseph bared.
What exactly are GET buses?
According to Wikipedia, these are City Optimized Managed Electric Transport (COMET) electric minibus developed by American firm, Pangea Motors, and manufactured and distributed by Global Electric Transport (GET) and are often characterized as an electric jeepney (e-jeep) in the Philippines.
GET Philippines describes the COMET buses as powered by fully-electric motors that boast of Formula-E technology and performance adapted for public transportation, one COMET cuts harmful carbon dioxide or CO2 emissions by around 40,000 kilograms annually.
These eco-friendly electric shuttles can seat 20 passengers and can accommodate 10 more standing commuters and can travel over 100 kilometers on a full battery. They only need about half an hour to fully recharge. Joseph said that here in Cebu City, COMET bus charging stations are located at the VECO hub charging station at the Sto. Nino area.
To ride the COMET buses, commuters need to download the GETPASS app from Google Play Store or the App Store and register. These COMET buses have built-in ramps that pull down to the road to provide easier access for PWDs, children, pregnant women and elderly to ride the buses.
“The goal of green transportation is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and promote sustainable mobility. We know
that climate change is real and also public transport systems in the country are awfully sub-standard. We are looking at a real jeepney system that is safe and environmentally clean,” Joseph said.
He added that by choosing environmentally-friendly modes of transportation here in Cebu and hopefully, the entire Philippines, individuals
can make a positive impact on the environment and on their health.
GET Green Transport Cebu Inc. milestones
Since its official operations in April 2022, GET Green Cebu COMET buses have provided free rides to commuters during various events and
festivals and other happenings in Cebu City, including the "One Cebu Island Sinulog Festival 2023,” which showcases only the best of Cebu for the
locals, the tourists and the world as all eyes are on the much-awaited Sinulog Celebration.
GET Green Transport Cebu also provided free rides to commuters and those who attended the Japanese Bon Odori Festival on May 6-7 in Mandaue City. Six COMET buses ferried people from Ayala Central Bloc to the North Reclamation Area for the Bon Odori Festival.
On May 12, in time for “The Gabii sa Kabilin,” an annual cultural heritage festival in Cebu, GET Green Transport offered six to 10 COMET
buses to provide free rides for the participants of the various cultural and heritage routes around the cities of Cebu, Talisay, and Mandaue.
On February 24, 2023, Danao City local officials, led by mayor Mix Durano, welcomed the Yokohama City officials to this northern Cebu City led by Executive Director of Development Cooperation, International Affairs Bureau, Ryoichiro Orii where potential projects and programs for Danao City were discussed. The Japanese from Yokohama City, Japan were absolutely impressed with the GET Green COMET Electric bus.
GET Green is optimistic about the future
According to GET Green Cebu, there are significant negotiations in the pipeline and heightened interest from local government units (LGUs), State Universities, BPO firms and transport cooperatives to have those COMET buses on the streets. GET Green Transport Cebu is very optimistic that these electric buses will fly high in Cebu and other parts of Central Visayas soon.
Joseph however said that, like any business, the success of GET Green Transport, Inc. depends on a variety of factors, including the company's ability to provide quality services, manage costs, and compete effectively with other transportation providers. It will also depend on factors
such as market conditions, regulatory environment, and overall economic trends in the Philippines.
“Investments run to about P40M and the return of investment (ROI) now is about 15-20 percent but it’s building, and ROI can easily be achieved in three years. We started this as a social enterprise in support of the government’s SGD goals on climate change and sustainable cities for a safe
and clean environment and digitizing transport not only in Cebu but the entire country,” Joseph told this writer.
GET Green Transport believes COMET buses are here to replace traditional jeepneys in the country and move forward to “Green Transportation”
and one of the most popular ways is with electric vehicles (EVs). EVs have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions as they emit no tailpipe pollutants and generate less carbon dioxide than traditional vehicles. EVs can be charged using renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, making them even more environmentally friendly, Joseph concluded. (Photos: MBCNewman/GET Green Cebu)