Iloilo is off to a new beginning on its transportation network. That’s because Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) has turned over an initial batch of 15 modernized jeepney units to MetroExpress Connect Inc.
Among the notable people present at the formal ceremony were IPC president Hajime Koso, Villar Group founder Manny Villar, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra, DOTr Assistant Secretary Mark de Leon, and MetroExpress Connect Inc. general manager Engineer Ric Pallesco. This made Iloilo one of the pioneering provinces to initiate the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
The modernized PUVs that were awarded to MetroExpress Connect Inc. were the same ones that were turned over in Manila in June 18. If you can remember, it’s the coach bus-like QKR77 modern jeepney, co-built with body builder Almazora Motors Corp. We’ve first seen it at the Isuzu Truck Fest event in April 2018 in three different bodies, one under the Category 3 and two Category 2 PUVs.
"The City of Iloilo has been emerging as a place where heritage and history are valued highly by the community; hence it has often been referred to as the 'Emerging City of Museums'. It is in this light that Isuzu Philippines Corp is proud to introduce to Ilonggos our version of the modernized jeepney, which retains the original heritage and purpose of the iconic jeepney and adapts it to the needs of a fast-growing modern metropolis."
Aside from being built on the Isuzu QKR77 platform, the modern jeepney is equipped with Euro IV-compliant 4JH1-TC diesel engine. The vehicle is classified as Class 2 PUV with its air-conditioned rear body and side-facing seat configuration. Its new body is also compliant to the Philippine National Standards (PNS 2126:2017) and has a 1,780-mm height, and 830-mm width. That’s a stand-in cabin to maximize passenger load.
Among its useful features are the panoramic windows and windshield, automatic sidewalk-facing passenger door, and provisions for persons with disability (PWD). Even better, each unit comes with an LED TV that broadcasts real-time information, news, or advertising. An LED electronic signage for vehicle route are also in place for the passengers’ convenience. But, the best thing we know about Isuzu’s modern “jeepney” is the automatic fare collection feature so you don’t have to pass your coins to three or more people.
Meanwhile, IPC is confident enough about the perks being brought by owning and managing the QKR77 jeepney. The advantages include:
- A nationwide network of 41 dealers, complete with servicing facilities.
- Nationwide parts availability, showcased by a 6,000-sqm warehouse facility.
- Expert service technicians, and special Japanese truck field engineers availability.
- The Isuzu Mobile Medic, specialized service trucks for roadside assistance to fleet customers.
- Training for drivers and mechanics, heavy-duty truck safety training, and the recently launched eco-driving program for fleet drivers.