Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Modern jeepney story

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The Senate of the Philippines’ employees will enjoy riding safer, environment-friendly jeepneys loaded with some very good mod-cons (modern conveniences) soon.

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Isuzu Gencars, led by its president D. Edgard A. Cabangon, recently turned over the first batch of “modernized jeepneys” it designed and built in partnership with Almazora Motors Corp. for the Senate Employees Transport Service Cooperative (Setsco). Setsco will embark on the pilot operation of these vehicles under the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri, Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian, Isuzu Philippines president Hajime Koso and Almazora Motors Corp. Executive Vice President Conrad Almazora witnessed Isuzu Gencars’ turnover of 15 of the 35 new jeepneys to Setsco chairperson Remedios Liton Venturina.

Venturina spoke at the turnover rites, saying that “Setsco is the first to accept the challenge to formally replace old jeepneys with safe, reliable and environment-friendly public-utility vehicles [PUVs] to ply the routes granted by the LTFRB (Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board).”

Photo by ALYSA SALEN

She said Setsco’s new fleet of modern jeepneys will provide the required convenience and safety to the riding public: The Isuzu Gencars-made PUVs are air-conditioned and “equipped with electronic devices such as global positioning system [GPS], closed-circuit television [CCTV], Wi-fi, TV monitor and automatic fare collection [enabling cashless operations].” Automatic doors on the right-hand sides of the vehicles offer passengers easy ingress and egress to side-facing seats that can accommodate 22 commuters at full capacity.

LED TV monitors on board each of the new jeepneys quickly relays real-time information, including station details, to the riding public—so passengers can check their roués, the date and time, weather, news and advertisements and, yes. Electronic signs with route information. There are also fire extingtuishers on board, CCTV, dashcams and backup cameras.

Of the most interesting innovations that went into the new jeepney is the automatic fare collection system that allows Beep Card holders to make cashless payments.

The vehicles in the new Setsco fleet generate 105 horsepower and 230 Newton meter (Nm) of maximum torque. Telematics and a speed limiter will be standard features in these modern jeepneys, and they will make fleet management, monitoring and safety

ISUZU vehicles are parked for the launching of Modern PUVs for the Senate Loop Route under the Senate Employees Transport Service Cooperative (SETSCO). The launch was held at the Senate Grounds in Pasay City. Photo by ALYSA SALEN

With these new jeepneys, even the driver gets more space and comfort. Setsco’s franchise holders understand that being part of a pilot project requires that all aspects of the program must go right from the start so it can set the tone for this program—which will eventually be implemented nationwide.

“Setsco exhausted all options available, most especially the vehicle brand for our transport services, and we came to the conclusion that Isuzu would be the best choice because of the vehicles’ durability, parts availability and fuel efficiency,” Venturina said. Many of our members experienced for themselves these qualities of Isuzu vehicles in their daily commutes.”

“We are the first [government] agency that implements this worthwhile project, and it’s very commendable that the Senate, through Setsco’s initiative, is one of the frontrunners of the undertaking,” Sotto said. “Especially that this year is the commencement of the implementation of the PUV modernization program.”

Setsco secured funding from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to acquire these 35 modernized jeepneys supplied by Isuzu Gencars, Venturina also said.

Setsco is administered by Senate employees (and has been since 2004). It now has joint ownership of 35 franchises granted by LTFRB –in compliance with the requirements prescribed by the DOTr. Isuzu’s unparalleled brand reputation prompted Setsco to choose the manufacturer as their best choice to represent a vehicle brand to pilot the PUVMP.

“This is truly a landmark event for the PUV modernization program of the Philippine government and Isuzu Philippines Corp.’s active participation in this timely project,” Koso said, adding that “the fruitful collaboration between IPC and the wholly Filipino-owned Almazora Motors Corp. ensures that our commuters ride only in world-class public-utility vehicles that also take into careful consideration passenger safety, comfort and the particular locality’s needs.”

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