IS it feasible for the P45-million hybrid electric road train designed by engineers at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to operate in Cebu City?

For Mayor Tomas Osmeña, maneuvering the hybrid train, which is five connected buses, would be difficult considering the traffic situation in the city.

“According to them, they have not found a use for it. They designed something and they tried to see if we can use it. What they should have done was look at what we need and then design something that will fit,” he told reporters.

The DOST donated the hybrid train to the Cebu City Government earlier this year.

Designed by engineers from DOST’s Metal Industry Research and Development Center, it is powered by a 300-kilovolt-ampere generator and dry cell battery, and can hold up to 240 passengers.

The hybrid train was scheduled to start road testing last Feb. 15 in the midtown and downtown areas.

The test run, though, didn’t push through as the train had to go through preventive maintenance after it was flooded while being kept at the old impounding area of the City Transportation Office (CCTO) at the North Reclamation Area.

The initial plan was to use the e-trains as a transport system for call center agents at the IT Park in Barangay Lahug.

Joel Mari Yu, executive point person for business and economy, has said that that roads in IT Park were too small for the hybrid train.

Last June, DOST 7 Director Edilberto Paradela announced that starting July, the e-train will be plying SM City-Plaza Independencia route to carry passengers for free as part of its test run.

But since then, there were no further updates revealed on the train.

Because of this, the City Council passed a resolution last week requesting CCTO to remove the hybrid train from Arellano Blvd. and find a location where it does not obstruct road traffic.

Aside from this, the council also wants CCTO and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) 7 to submit a report on the hybrid train road test evaluation along with the summary of findings and recommendations for the implementation of such transport system.

Mayor Osmeña suggested that DOST break the connected buses into two.

This way, it would not be difficult to swivel the vehicle and it wouldn’t cause traffic jam, he said.

Another solution presented by Osmeña would be to designate a different route for the e-train.

“I think we’re going to try it somewhere else. (Perhaps in) Mindanao. I was thinking maybe use it from Cebu City to Simala Shrine in Sibonga, just back and forth. We did not order that. They built that as part of their own experiment,” he said. (RTF)