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Solving the traffic and pollution problems in the Philippines

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By Martin Conboy

One of the challenges facing the Philippines BPO industry is the horrendous traffic, especially in Manila. It’s painful to get everything you want to do done in a reasonable time frame, especially if you are an executive looking to place an outsourcing contract and need to visit a few different locations.

There is no doubt that the hazards of moving through the streets of Manila are multiplied by the sheer diversity of vehicles that use the roads. In addition to cars, multitudes of motorcycles, trucks large and small, buses, taxis and bicycles, there are motorized rickshaws, pedal-powered rickshaws, pushcarts, motorcycles with homemade sidecars that sometimes carry half a dozen or more passengers all moving at different speeds and stopping at random points with no apparent rhyme or reason.

Tens of thousands of these vehicles, independently owned and mostly unregulated, ply the streets of Manila.

Then, of course, there are the jeepneys, the national vehicle and the most popular mode of public transport. The originals were made from leftover WW2 U.S. Army jeeps. Tens of thousands of these vehicles, independently owned and mostly unregulated, ply the streets of Manila. Traffic congestion in the Philippine capital consistently ranks among the worst in the world. It can take hours to go a few miles.

Last year I was visiting the Philippines and caught up with my friend Freddie Tinga, the former congressman who was the champion of the ICT-BPO industry while he was in government.

During my visit to his home he showed me his plans for City Optimized Managed Electric Transport (COMET) the new US-made electric mini bus prototype – vehicle known as Global Electric Transportation (GET), a 50-50 venture between U.S. and Filipino investors.

COMET will replace 30,000 of the pollution spewing jeepneys that will be taken off the road over the next three years. GET is a 50-50 venture between American and Filipino investors to develop a connected mass transport system

During the latest visit to the Philippines by President Obama he started his second day inspecting an old red jeepney with its shiny chrome fenders and colourful red livery, then stepped aboard the  new COMET version.

The COMET prototype viewed by President Obama was larger than a jeepney with higher ceilings and looks more comfortable.

President Obama was guided in his tour by Ken Montler, CEO Global Electric Transportation Ltd.; Freddie Tinga, President, Global Electric Transportation Ltd., and Robert Martin at Pangea’s 60,000 square-foot manufacturing/assembly plant in Cavite province. Pangea Motors, based in Vancouver, Washington is the sole provider of the system.

The COMET prototype viewed by President Obama was larger than a jeepney with higher ceilings and looks more comfortable. It accepts only fare cards, ( a similar concept to the  Oster  card of London or the Myke card of Melbourne) not cash commonly used by passengers to pay the jeepney driver.

GET uses leading American electric vehicle technology to solve mass transport related problems in urbanized emerging market megacities and environmentally impacted areas. GET moves public transportation from an interruption in people’s lives to a continuation of their lives. GET is the vehicle of change. GET’s City Optimized Managed Electric Transport (COMET) will launch in Manila in May 2014.

Pangea Motors provides the COMET’s engineering, design and manufacturing.  GET Philippines delivers the fleet management, a cashless fare system, passenger media analytics and final vehicle assembly.

The GET-Pangea partnership intends to launch operations in the United States and Asia.

In the next three years, GET anticipates purchases of $200 million in US high-end electronic components for the COMET.

Its economic impact is such that once fully operational, the COMET will generate 100’s of American jobs and 100’s more among downstream suppliers to be mirrored where COMET fleets are deployed.

In the next three years, GET anticipates purchases of $200 million in US high-end electronic components for the COMET. Over the next three years, 30,000 jeepneys will be taken off the road, with 30,000 COMET drivers operating 15,000 COMETs. The COMET will alleviate the $50 million/day in economic loss the Philippines experiences due to traffic congestion.

According to AFP White House Correspondent Stephen Collinson, on the environmental impact, the COMET will address pollution, climate change, and healthcare issues. Manila is one of the top five cities at risk to suffer the adverse impacts of climate change.  It is estimated that vehicles cause 85% of Manila’s pollution.

Air pollution in the Philippines causes $50 million in annual healthcare costs and 12% of total deaths.  Diesel jeepneys in Manila contribute to 15% particulate matter (PM) emissions and 11% carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. GET is currently developing micro grid capability for sustainable charging.

This is a major ‘disruption innovation’ that will change the way a major city like Manila operates

And will eventually make it an easier place to do business. More importantly it just goes to show the ingenuity of the Filipino people and underscores why they are the world champions in voice related BPO.

Note:

The term disruption innovation’ is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in a new market and later by lowering prices in the existing market.

– See more at: http://www.philippinedailymirror.com/index.php/markets/comet-mini-bus-to-replace-jeepneys.html#sthash.swTH5j1t.dpuf

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May 7, 2014
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