After being grounded because of one unit that suddenly burst into flames in May, Comet jeepneys-touted as an environment-friendly urban transport-are back in the streets of Quezon City.
They now come with an upgraded battery system which should prevent a repeat of the fire that forced the suspension of their commercial operations in the city. The Comet started operations in Sept. 2014.
The US-based Pangea manufactures the Comet (Community Optimized Managed Electric Transport) while Global Electric Transportation (GET) Philippines handles fleet management.
With the same fare matrix as jeepneys, Comets currently ply the SM North-Katipunan Avenue and SM North-Luzon Avenue routes from Mondays to Saturdays between 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Frankie Endriga, Pangea Philippines general manager, said the new battery system was similar to the electric vehicles used in Disney theme parks which has better safety features and simpler wiring for easier management.
Pasang Masda president Obet Martin said the transport group supports alternative fuel and is working with GET Philippines to encourage other operators to convert to the managed system.
Drivers won’t have to compete for passengers because they will receive a basic salary for eight-hour work. The passengers are better served and there will be less traffic, Martin added.
Comets are dispatched every 30 minutes during off-peak hours and as quickly as three minutes during rush hour. It uses a cash-less system with a tap card that can be reloaded at the stations.