Coming in July: 5 Comets to ferry Naia 3 passengers
Comets are coming to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) in July.
These are not the cosmic snowballs of frozen gas, rocks and dust that streak across the skies but electric mass transport vehicles deployed by airport authorities to give arriving passengers more options for getting to their destinations.
For the whole month of July, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) will be introducing in a test-run five City Optimized Managed Electric Transport (Comet) vehicles to ferry passengers at Naia Terminal 3 to Makati, Taguig and Pasay cities.
MIAA senior assistant general manager Vicente Guerzon said that airport officials were aware of how difficult it was to get to or leave the terminal, prompting them to look for more modes of transportation for plane passengers.
Guerzon said that the MIAA started discussions with Global Electric Transport (GET) Ltd. last week for the future use of 16-seater electric shuttles to take passengers from Naia Terminal 3 to at least three strategic points in Metro Manila: Ayala Center in Makati City; SM Mall of Asia in Pasay; and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.
To ensure the orderly loading and unloading of passengers, these will be done only at airport shuttle terminals and at designated drop-off points.
“At the moment, the project will focus on helping passengers going to and coming from Terminal 3 [as] traffic in the vicinity … has been observed to be particularly slow,” Guerzon said.
The Comet vehicles are powered by rechargeable lithium ion batteries and can run for 70 kilometers on a single charge. Each one is equipped with a cashless payment system, a global positioning system and vehicle telemetry for real-time tracking and efficient fleet management.
According to Guerzon, GET is hoping to get its permits in June from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in time for the five vehicles’ test-run the following month.
“In the long run, the company plans to have in place 20 shuttles for each of the three routes,” he said.
Currently, MIAA provides two types of shuttle services by bus: one to ferry passengers to connecting flights in other terminals; and another which brings arrivals to Baclaran.
Meanwhile, airport authorities will continue allowing regular taxis to pick up passengers at Naia Terminals 2 and 3 during peak hours. These are between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.; 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Terminal 2; and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; 6 p.m. to 8 p.m; and 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Terminal 3.
According to MIAA general manager Jose Angel Honrado, the scheme, which began on April 20, effectively provided more taxi cabs for arrivals and did not add to vehicular traffic in the two terminals.
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