MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) and On-Us Solutions, Inc. or Byahe have agreed for the latter to acquire 100% of the electricity distributor’s eSakay public transportation business.
“This acquisition will allow Byahe and MPT Mobility to give birth to a new era in public transport. The electric PUJ (public utility jeepney) under the government’s modernization program has finally arrived,” Enrique Gonzales, co-founder of Byahe, said in a media release on Thursday.
In 2018, MPT Mobility, the innovations arm of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), invested in Byahe and became its majority single shareholder. Byahe is a transportation company that operates privately owned modernized jeepneys. It was founded by Brian P. Cu and Mr. Gonzales.
Meralco said Byahe aligns with the government’s public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVM), which is now being implemented.
“This program while currently being implemented is saddled by the high costs of operations, among other challenges. While EV (electric vehicle) jeepneys lower their operating costs, this new industry needs all the help it can get from the government to ensure that it remains financially viable and sustainable,” Meralco said.
PUVM is a program that aims to restructure, modernize and bring a well-managed and environmentally sustainable transport sector. Byahe said it plans to modernize the old electric vehicles of Meralco’s eSakay.
“We are currently in discussions with a few electric jeepney suppliers that can possibly meet our requirements. We hope to be able to launch this in the coming year,” said Laurence Bahia, chief executive officer of Byahe.
Meanwhile, Rodrigo E. Franco, MPT Mobility president and MPTC chief executive officer, said that Byahe will also focus on combining emerging technology to provide a better public transportation system.
“The riding public deserves better service, and we truly believe that Byahe can help turn our public transportation into a world-class sector and contribute to nation-building in partnership with the government and stakeholders,” Mr. Franco said.
eSakay is Meralco’s green mobility arm. It provides end-to-end EV and charging infrastructure solutions, modernizing and electrifying transport systems for private and public sector customers.
Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Ashley Erika O. Jose