Rama tries electric car-A A +A
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama had first-hand experience of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) project called the Automated Guideway Transit (AGT), which is powered electrically.
“I’m impressed because it ran,” a seemingly surprised Rama told reporters yesterday.
The AGT prototype at the University of the Philippines in Diliman is a proposed alternative for a mass transport system.
Cebu City, through Rama, is interested in the AGT because the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) has deferred approval of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system.
But Cebu City is ripe for a multi-system public transport, said City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) board chairperson Ruben Almendras in a letter to the mayor.
“There is no obstacle for Cebu City to have a multi-system public transport. We can have the BRT for specific routes, electric trolleys in certain routes, the regular bus and jeepneys in other routes,” Almendras’s communication to Rama read.
The BRT was originally conceptualized to travel from Bulacao to Talamban in Cebu City with its own lane.
Rama flew to Manila Thursday and was allowed to board the AGT with DOST Secretary Mario Montejo. Rama also raised the possibility of a prototype in Cebu City, based on the recommendation of Almendras.
The prototype, said Almendras, can run from Cebu City Hall and Cebu Provincial Capitol and back again.
“We can ask DOST for a prototype as a demonstration system to enable us to determine its financial and social viability,” Almendras said.
DOST is said to be ready with the prototype, but the mayor wants it discussed with Almendras and Citom Executive Director Rafael Yap.
When asked how it felt to ride the AGT, Rama said, “Nice.”
President Benigno Aquino III, when he rode the prototype last April, described it as “bumpy.”
But Rama said if implemented in Cebu City, the AGT will be on the ground.
While in Manila, Rama also traveled three hours to look for the wake of 1Lt. John Kristofer Rama, because it was the first Rama to have graduated from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), as far as the mayor is concerned.
Mayor Rama learned that the soldier who died in the gunfight in Zamboanga City was from the Ramas of Pandacan who relocated in Bulacan.
The mayor also had an interesting flight back home to Cebu City last Saturday.
For the first time since their falling out, Rama and cousin Annabelle Rama-Gutierrez were on the same flight and were even seated beside each other.
Even more interesting was that former congressman and Rama’s May 2013 mayoral opponent Tomas Osmeña was seated beside Gutierrez.
“Uh-oh,” Mayor Rama said was Osmeña’s reaction.
The mayor claimed to have helped Osmeña with his luggage, but they did not share a conversation. But he and Gutierrez talked the entire flight, shared a ride going to Cebu City and even dropped by Basilica del Sto. Niño. They later had lunch together.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 01, 2013.