De La Salle Araneta’s Electric Shuttle Service
Article by M.C. Santos
In every medieval adventure story, a knight needs his stallion to triumph in his quest.
In this modern tale, there’s hardly any difference.
De La Salle Araneta University is facing a couple of challenges, two of which are the issues of visibility and accessibility. After conducting a strategic planning process, they found out that people are still relatively unaware of their presence as a La Sallian institution in the Northern Manila area. Given that the school was originally established in 1946 as Araneta Institute of Agriculture – and later renamed as Gregorio Araneta University in 1978, folks still seem to not have caught up with the changes even if the De La Salle Brothers took over back in 2002.
Green to the core
To address the problems, DLSAU President Dr. Bjorn Santos and the rest of his staff thought of a solution – a shuttle service. But it cannot be just any run-of-the-mill transport service. Being a catholic educational institution, they chose to heed the call of Pope Francis- which he has explicitly explained in his second encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ – to care for the planet. "We said: Maybe it's better if we answer the appeal of the Pope. If we're going to rent a vehicle, it might as well be an electric vehicle,” explains Dr. Santos.
The university has been working closely with Meralco as its service provider and upon learning of its subsidiary E-Sakay, they didn’t hesitate to expand the partnership to provide for such a pressing need.
Here comes the stallion
Named after the school symbol, the Stallion Express Point-to-Point Shuttle Service started operating in October, and for the first month, runs the 8.2 kilometers between the school campus in Malabon to SM North EDSA from 6am to 6pm Monday to Friday, every hour. The choice of the drop-off and pick-up point is a result of a collaboration with the Student Council, who conducted surveys to ascertain that a bay at the transportation hub in that particular mall was the best choice for all stakeholders. “It normally takes commuters 2 to 3 rides to get to the campus, “says Dr. Santos. “But using the shuttle service, it takes them just one ride. Because of the traffic (congestion) now and the harshness of the outside environment, we feel that it is better to have a shuttle service so that it can be safer for our students as well as for our faculty members.”
There are currently two EV Van-type units working at 15-30 minute intervals. The first unit is by powered by the ternary battery while the second unit has a Lithium iron phosphate battery. They both plug into normal outlets at DLSAU’s garage and need about 27 hours to be fully-charged if done at a single go. But when pressed for time, the vans can be fully-charged in three steps, 45mins to an hour each at 80kW.
"This partnership, initially, is good for five years but what we plan to do is add more points because there are requests to do so between the campus and North EDSA--somewhere in Balintawak and Muñoz area, to address the requests of our students, faculty, and staff,” explains Dr. Santos. “But in the long-term, we see this as a service to our community. Hopefully, when it becomes stable enough, it can help not just our students, faculty, and staff, but also our alumni."
In the end, it is always about service for De La Salle Araneta. And as they keep going on this route, it is safe to say that they are on their way to becoming what they seek out to be - the great La Sallian University in the North.
Story originally posted on Power Club.
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