Bataan officially enlisted in the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) with the turnover of 15 “modernized PUVs” from Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) to MetroExpress Connect, Inc. (MCI).
The turnover ensued at the parking area of Vista Mall Bataan along the provincial highway.
LTFRB Region 3 Director Ahmed Cuizon said, “The government has been very forward-looking in the planning and implementation of the PUVMP… And I am very happy to note that the modern PUVs you see here will become the new normal in the Philippine public transport system.”
He added, “In the coming weeks and months, we will be opening new routes that will be catering to more passengers in Bataan.”
The 15 modern jeepneys use the Isuzu QKR77 platform, with the rear body designed and manufactured by Almazora Motors Corp. They are all air-conditioned, Class 2 PUVs with a side-facing seat configuration. The platform is assembled in the Philippines and is equipped with a Euro IV-compliant 4JH1-TC diesel engine known for fuel economy.
Compliant with Philippine National Standards (PNS 2126:2017), the new vehicle’s passenger cabin offers more space. The passenger door is safely situated on the right-hand side, facing the sidewalk. Other design features of the body include panoramic windows and windshield, full-body insulation, and automatic door closer.
IPC assistant sales division head Hiroto Nakaguro said that the Isuzu modern PUVs are “customized with various accessories such as WiFi, GPS, CCTV, LED displays, and automatic fare collection system enabling cashless operations, all geared for passengers’ safety and added convenience.”
Nakaguro also conveyed IPC’s gratitude to the “growing number of transport groups, such as MCI, who trust the Isuzu brand and are confident that Isuzu will be able to help serve their mission to the community.”
During the turnover ceremonies, Cuizon reminded transport groups, jeepney operators and drivers to fast-track the modernization of their own fleets. “They have to step up their modernization efforts between now and June 30, 2020. Otherwise, their franchises and routes will be given to those who can provide modernized PUVs to the riding public. In the seven provinces of Region 3, where Bataan belongs, we project up to 30,000 jeepneys need to be modernized by that time.”
MCI acquired several units in its Iloilo City last July 2018, and projects steadily expanding its franchise routes beginning with Batangas, Laguna, and Cavite extending to as far as Tuguegarao and down south in Davao.