By Prune Irolla and Mathieu Bonvoisin
Only one week after our arrival, and four months after iCSC broke ground for the RE-Charge project in Tacloban, the ejeepney free ride was launched: four electric jeepneys were available and offered free rides to Tacloban’s commuters for free during one week in the city.
The main purpose of this communication action was to make people aware of this new kind of jeepney, showing them that it works pretty well, even with no noise and no pollution.
Our first duty as volunteers was to be in the ejeepneys, talking with people about iCSC and the RE-Charge project. But our main goal really was to gather people while screaming “Free ride! Free ride!” all day long.
On the first day of the free rides, there weren’t as many people as expected, and many seemed quite suspicious if a free thing is possible in their city. But what we didn’t know, freshly arrived as we were, was that Tacloban is quite a small city. So the news quickly spread to the inhabitants, making the ejeepneys famous already by the second day! Even ABS-CBN, a local television network, took a ride and interviewed people onboard.
Users seemed to enjoy this initiative and some were full of questions about the project. We mainly assured them that yes, ejeepneys can run even at night or when it’s cloudy! Because the solar panels are not directly attached on the roof of the ejeepneys, they will keep working thanks to a battery bank loaded by a solar plant in the RE-Charge facility.
Now that the week of free rides has ended, the ejeepneys will soon continue to run in Tacloban, with the same fares as any other jeepney. So come and try it!