Philippine-made Hybrid Electric Road Train deployed to give free rides to COVID-19 frontliners in Isabela

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Hybrid Electric Road Train
The DOST-developed HERT is now exclusively servicing healthcare providers and other frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus disease. Photo from DOST.

The Philippine-made Hybrid Electric Road Train has been deployed in Cauayan City, Isabela to exclusively shuttle Frontliners and Health Service Providers going to and from their work while mass transportation is suspended during the Luzon-wide community quarantine.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Region 2 announced on social media last March 19, 2020, that the deployment of the HERT that was turned over in 2015 to the Local Government Unit of Cauayan and the Isabela State University is in response to the suspension of public transportation covering buses, jeepneys, and even tricycles.

“Today, the Hybrid Train started to accommodate the transportation of Health workers and frontliners in the City until the end of the Enhanced Community Quarantine period,” DOST-Region 2 said in the post.

“Free Ride for Health Service Providers and Frontliners in Cauayan City, Isabela thru the Hybrid Electric Road Train! Free Ride is offered to employees who need to get to work as public transportation froze operations following the enhanced community quarantine directive. Smart actions for Smarter City,” DOST-Region 2 posted in another Facebook announcement.

The Cauayan City COVID-19 Task Force also announced on its Facebook on March 20 that the free shuttle service is exclusively free for Frontliners, Health workers, and Employees of exempted private establishments, To avail of the free ride, they must bring their ID, practice precautionary measures, and observe Social Distancing (one person per row and sit at the window side).

Hybrid Electric Road Train offers frontliners free shuttle ride going to their work. Photo courtesy of DOST-Region 2.

HERT schedule of trips:

  • 1st trip is from 6:00 am to 8:30 am
  • 2nd trip is from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm
  • 3rd trip is from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm

DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Pena said that the HERT, unlike the conventional railway systems, is more energy-efficient since there is no need for the alternating current running through suspended cables.

The eco-friendly Hybrid Electric Road Train developed by Filipino engineers from the Department of Science and Technology – Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) was launched in early February of 2016 to help ease traffic congestion in Philippine cities.

The HERT was considered in 2018 to supplement the train car needs of the Philippine National Railways which eventually allowed it to run tracks in 2019.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to the people of Isabela for helping their frontliners continue their work in the fight against COVID-19.

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