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