GenSan to test run DOST’s electric train

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The city government is planning to start next week the trial run of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) “40-meter train-like bus” dubbed Hybrid Electric Road Train (HERT).

City Councilor Dominador Lagare Jr., chair of the city council’s committee on transportation said Thursday, the final preparation is underway for the deployment of the road train on major streets and highways here.

The road train arrived late last week from Cebu City, where it had completed a six-month test run.

“We will finally test and experience the road train and we’re targeting to start that next week,” he told reporters.

Personnel from the DOST’s Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC), which developed the HERT, assessed last August the possible routes here for the road train’s test run.

As earlier agreed with the local government, the HERT will serve routes along the national highway and the city circumferential road.

It will start in Barangay Katangawan then pass through the public market in Barangay Lagao, portions of the city proper and Barangay Apopong, and proceed to the city fish port complex in Barangay Tambler.

Engr. Alexander Argame, DOST-MIRC science research specialist, said they find the city a viable site for the raid train’s test run due to its well-maintained and wide road networks.

“The roads, especially the curves are wide enough so I think we will not have a problem with its deployment here,” he said.

The HERT, which was launched by DOST in 2015, is a “40-meter long train-like bus” that can run at a maximum speed of 50 kilometers per hour and is mainly powered by hybrid diesel fuel and electric-powered battery.

The train consists of five interlinked air-conditioned coaches that can hold up to 240 passengers per trip.

Argame said the HERT, which is the first prototype developed by DOST-MIRDC, is “powered by a generator set and a series of batteries.”

He said each coach is “powered by electric an drive motor that runs the coaches.”

Lagare said the city would use the train for free for at least five months under the supervision of the DOST-MIRDC.

He said it would be operated by the city’s newly-established cooperative of tricycle operators and drivers.

The official foresees that the deployment of the road train will help ease the city’s traffic problems, especially during the peak hours in the morning and late afternoon.

He hopes that the city can eventually adopt the technology as solution to local public transportation and traffic problems, which is mainly attributed to the oversupply of tricycles in the streets.

“The direction of the city is towards mass transport. We cannot fully develop if tricycles will remain as our main mode of transportation,” he said.