Following the official unveiling of the new modernized jeepney last June, Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) now turn to dispatching their new utility vehicles for public use. On July 31st, IPC have turned over an initial batch of 15 units to Metro Express Connect, a company in charge of plying routes in Iloilo City.
The formal turnover ceremony, attended by Mr. Hajime Koso (President of Isuzu Phils Corp), Engr. Ric Pallesco (General Manager and President of Metro Express Connect, Inc.), DOTr Asec. Mark de Leon, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra and Villar Group founder Mr. Manny Villar, marks a significant milestone for the visayas province as this signals the official start of the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
The modernized PUVs were assembled using the Isuzu QKR77 platform with the rear body being designed and manufactured by Almazora Motors Corp. All units are air-conditioned Class 2 PUVs with a side-facing seat configuration. While assembled locally, the QKR77 is equipped with Euro IV-compliant 4JH1-TC Diesel Engine that promises to deliver excellent fuel economy.
Isuzu’s new PUV body is compliant with Philippine National Standards (PNS2126:2017). The passenger cabin floor-to-ceiling height and gangway width are 1,780 mm and 830 mm respectively, giving more space for passengers to move easily inside. The passenger door is safely situated on the right-hand side facing the sidewalk. Other design features of the body include panoramic windows and windshields, full-body insulation with GeneQ shield, automatic door closer, and provisions for persons with disabilities.
“The fruitful collaboration between IPC and the wholly Filipino-owned Almazora Motors Corp ensures that Iloilo City’s commuters ride only in world-class public utility vehicles that also take into careful consideration passenger safety, comfort, and the particular locality’s needs” IPC president Hajime Koso explained.
The initial batch of 15 units provided to Metro Express Connect represent half of the total 30 units ordered by the transport company. The PUVMP is expected to replace some 200,000 jeepneys nationwide (which 15 years or older) with new, safe, and environmentally friendly public utility vehicles.