Reimag­in­ing PUVs

Business World - - Special Feature -

THE PUB­LIC Util­ity Ve­hi­cle Mod­ern­iza­tion Pro­gram is a largescale ini­tia­tive of the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment aimed at trans­form­ing the en­tire pub­lic trans­porta­tion sys­tem. Launched by the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion (DoTr) in 2017, it “en­vi­sions a re­struc­tured, mod­ern, well-man­aged and en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able trans­port sec­tor where drivers and op­er­a­tors have sta­ble, suf­fi­cient and dig­ni­fied liveli­hoods while com­muters get to their destinations quickly, safely and com­fort­ably.”

A key com­po­nent of this pro­gram is fleet mod­ern­iza­tion: re­plac­ing pub­lic util­ity ve­hi­cles (PUVs) that are more than 15 years old with those that are safe, re­li­able, ef­fi­cient and environment-friendly.

In April of this year, DOTr mounted an ex­hi­bi­tion, “Pub­lic Trans­port Mod­ern­iza­tion Expo: Moder­nong Sasakyan, Pro­gre­si­bong Bayan,” at the Philip­pine International Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Pasay City, to show­case the mod­ern PUVs and give them the pub­lic, par­tic­u­larly the op­er­a­tors and drivers of PUVs, a low­down on the ben­e­fits of the mod­ern­iza­tion pro­gram and its com­po­nents.

Among the pro­to­types on dis­play were low-floor pub­lic util­ity buses, jeep­neys and e-tri­cy­cles. The ex­hibit was also an oc­ca­sion for the at­ten­dees to ask the man­u­fac­tur­ers and body builders of the PUV pro­to­types ques­tions re­gard­ing the de­sign of the ve­hi­cles, their tech­ni­cal spec­i­fi­ca­tions, per­for­mance and ef­fi­ciency, among other things.

Isuzu Philip­pines Corp. was one of the par­tic­i­pat­ing brands. It put on view three pro­to­types, all sharing the Isuzu QKR plat­form, which run on a Euro 4-com­pli­ant 4JH1TC diesel en­gine ca­pa­ble of pro­vid­ing max­i­mum power of 106 PS at 3,200 rpm and max­i­mum torque of 230 N-m from 1,400-3,200 rpm.

One of the pro­to­types, a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Cen­tro Man­u­fac­tur­ing Cor­po­ra­tion, was the Isuzu-CEN­TRO Class II jeep­ney sub­sti­tute, which had a 23-pas­sen­ger stan­dard type cabin, side-fac­ing fixed foam seats, slid­ing win­dows and elec­tric fold­ing ser­vice door. The Isuzu-ALMAZORA Class II pro­to­type, mean­while, had a spe­cial struc­tural body de­signed by Almazora Mo­tors Corp., and fea­tured side-fac­ing fiber glass seats with cush­ions and panoramic glass win­dows. The third pro­to­type Isuzu Philip­pines dis­played was a col­lab­o­ra­tion with San­tarosa Mo­tor Works called Isuzu-SAN­TAROSA Class III PUV, which had 23 front­fac­ing seats and Gal­van­nealed sheet body pan­els. All three were fully air-con­di­tioned.

“Our lat­est PUV dis­play is a re­sult of the test and de­vel­op­ment process we had with our pre­vi­ous pro­to­types. We try to work with dif­fer­ent lo­cal body man­u­fac­tur­ers to give our trans­port groups more de­signs to choose from,” Ha­jime Koso, pres­i­dent of Isuzu Philip­pines, was quoted as say­ing in a press re­lease. “Rest as­sured

that we work closely with them to en­sure the qual­ity and safety of these new prod­ucts,”

Hino Mo­tors Philip­pines, the of­fi­cial dis­trib­u­tor of Hino trucks and buses in the coun­try, also par­tic­i­pated in the expo, show­ing off its mod­ern jeep­ney pro­to­types. These pro­to­types came in four vari­ants: Hino four- and six-wheel­ers for Class II and III in air-con­di­tioned and non-air-con­di­tioned ver­sions. These Euro 4-pow­ered Hino jeep­neys had a seat­ing ca­pac­ity of 23 to 30 pas­sen­gers.

The Hino Class III model is minibus-like with front-fac­ing pas­sen­ger seats. The Hino Class II PUV, which was de­signed to look more like a con­ven­tional jeep­ney, had side-fac­ing pas­sen­ger seats and cov­ered open-air win­dows and could ac­com­mo­date stand­ing pas­sen­gers.

“Our ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in the gov­ern­ment’s project is driven by our Hino’s To­tal Sup­port mantra. We are com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing re­li­able and in­no­va­tive trans­port sys­tem so­lu­tions for the wel­fare of all our stake­hold­ers - in­clud­ing our nat­u­ral re­sources such as the air we breathe. We be­lieve that this is the first step to­ward an up­graded and greener trans­port sys­tem,” Vi­cente Mills, Jr., chair­man of Hino Mo­tors Philip­pines, said in a state­ment.

The Bu­reau of Philip­pine Stan­dards of the Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try has set stan­dards on the di­men­sions of PUVs. Class 1 ve­hi­cles have a pas­sen­ger ca­pac­ity of nine to 22. Class 2 ve­hi­cles can carry more than 22 pas­sen­gers who can ei­ther seat or stand. Class 3 ve­hi­cles can ac­com­mo­date of 22 or more sit­ting pas­sen­gers. Class 4 ve­hi­cles have the same seat­ing ca­pac­ity as Class 3 ve­hi­cles, but they have pro­vi­sions for cargo.

Last July, DoTr dis­patched 150 mod­ern jeep­neys to op­er­a­tors. These ve­hi­cles had side doors, do­ing away with the old rear en­trance of con­ven­tional jeep­neys, and a higher ceil­ing for stand­ing pas­sen­gers. There were units that had pro­vi­sions for per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties, a Wi-Fi con­nec­tion, a global po­si­tion­ing sys­tem or GPS, closed-cir­cuit television (CCTV) cam­era, dash cam­era, speed lim­iter and au­to­matic fare col­lec­tion sys­tem.

Thomas M. Or­bos, un­der­sec­re­tary for road trans­port and in­fra­struc­ture at DoTr, was quoted in a Busi­ness­World re­port as say­ing that the roll­out of the mod­ern jeep­neys was only the first step in pro­vid­ing com­muters with the pub­lic trans­porta­tion they de­serve.

“Com­muters are suf­fer­ing from smoke­belch­ing, un­safe, and dam­aged jeep­neys be­cause this was what we’re used to. That shouldn’t be the case. It’s the gov­ern­ment’s job to give the pub­lic what they de­serve,” he said.

In April of this year, DOTr mounted an ex­hi­bi­tion, “Pub­lic Trans­port Mod­ern­iza­tion Expo: Moder­nong Sasakyan, Pro­gre­si­bong Bayan,” at the Philip­pine International Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Pasay City, to show­case the mod­ern PUVs and give them the pub­lic, par­tic­u­larly the op­er­a­tors and drivers of PUVs, a low­down on the ben­e­fits of the mod­ern­iza­tion pro­gram and its com­po­nents.

PHOTO SHOWS a bat­tery pow­ered “jeep­ney” mak­ing a daily trip in Manila’s fi­nan­cial district. The rides, which were for free, were fi­nanced by the city gov­ern­ment as part of a cam­paign to re­duce its green­house emis­sions.

AN ELEC­TRIC minibus and jeep­ney dis­played dur­ing the Pub­lic Trans­port Mod­ern­iza­tion Expo

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