Traffic > Transit

Inside Isuzu’s modern public-utility vehicle

Manufacturer turns over 35 units to Senate transport cooperative

Much better than a dilapidated jeepney, yes? PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

We’ve all been hearing about the government’s PUV modernization program, which aims to phase out old, unsafe and environment-harming public-utility vehicles and replace these with better, roadworthy and planet-saving people carriers. Today, this noble but difficult campaign scored an important victory as Isuzu Philippines Corporation turned over 35 units (15 of which were presented to the media) of its new PUV to the Senate Employees Transport Service Cooperative. SETSCO is now officially a public-transport franchise-holder authorized to shuttle commuters.

This particular fleet of modern jeepneys will take riders from the soon-to-open Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange to the Manila Bay area, and vice versa.

These vehicles are propelled by Isuzu’s 3.0-liter 4JH1-TC Euro 4 turbodiesel engine. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

You know this is a significant milestone in the history of Philippine public transportation because a handful of senators—including the perennially comical awesome Senate President Tito Sotto—took the time to claim the credit attend the handover ceremony.

According to IPC marketing head Joseph Bautista, the PUVs are powered by Isuzu’s 3.0-liter 4JH1-TC turbodiesel engine, which is already Euro 4-compliant. The 20-seater bodies, meanwhile, were made by local coachbuilder Almazora, so hooray for more jobs! One unit costs P1,945,000 (a little more if you add taxes), and we’d like to show you what sort of amenities that kind of money buys.

Local coachbuilder Almazora made the bodies. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

The vehicles are equipped with a facility for contactless payment so you can use your Beep card and don’t have to worry about fishing out loose bills from your bag.

The PUVs will accept payment via Beep cards. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

The passenger cabin is infinitely more spacious and more comfortable than those of the jeepneys we (and our parents) grew up riding. You can actually stand and walk upright inside.

No need to forcefully squeeze your tush in. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

It seems the interior was furnished with passenger welfare in mind. There’s ample air-conditioning even at the back, and several video cameras have been installed to hopefully discourage creepy old dudes from harassing women (or pickpockets from making off with your apartment rent). Bautista told VISOR that a display monitor will also show advertisements to help the PUV operator generate more income.

Let’s hope the video cameras will always be on. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

Other safety and security features include a fire extinguisher and a glass breaker—stuff you’ll never find inside an aging bus plying EDSA.

Just having these on the modern PUV is enough to make passengers feel a lot safer. PHOTOS BY VERNON B. SARNE

We’re happy. You should be, too. The next generation will now have access to better transportation. It wasn’t easy getting to this point, but we’re here now. Big props to all concerned.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.