PUV Modernized Jeep Suitable in Baguio, Cordilleras

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Members and officers of the Cordillera Basic Sectors Transport Cooperative did a test drive on the Isuzu modern prototypes Centro and Almazora. It was in response to the invitation of Isuzu Baguio Sales Manager Manager Romeo A. Agarin and to prove that the modernized jeepneys are suitable in Baguio City and Benguet. And to show members of some jeepney drivers and operators associations who were citing that the modernized jeepney is unsuitable or cannot withstand the Baguio City terrain.

The first euro-4 compliant modernized jeepney was brought by Hino on December 5, 2018 when CBSTC had their first membership Assembly at the Hotel Supreme. The test drive was done on the same day by CBTSC members from the provinces of Kalinga, Apayao, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Abra, Benguet,Tabuk City and Baguio City.  It  was then again tested the following day with their Regional Officers, DOTr-LTO officers and some passengers they picked up along the way from La Trinidad to Baguio CBD who were excited and happy with the experience and knowing that soon, these jeepneys will become the main transport system on the main roads of La Trinidad and Baguio City.

DOTr-LTO officers Ms. Jacqueline Milagros O. Joven and Mr. Arsenio Bagtang,  who were resource speakers during the transportation summit, said that the vehicles tested were all Euro-4 compliant and can withstand the terrain of the city and the Cordilleras. Ms Joven said that all manufacturers of modernized jeep must comply with the PUV modernization program which is beneficial to all transport stakeholders. She further explained to the jeepney drivers that the test drive is a testament that the modernized vehicles are better and have clarified all concerns and issues raised by the drivers and operators.

CBSTC had the opportunity to test drive the Centro prototype on February 11 this year.  Confident that it is suitable to go up the narrow and steep Quirino Hill road, they boarded with more than 20 free passengers. The jeep did not fail expectations and the driver whose first time to handle the jeepney confessed that he was extremely impressed with the performance. The random passengers who braved to ride the new jeepney all gave a thumbs up and positive review after their ride.

Centro or the QKR platform is the common on all three PUV prototypes, which runs on a 4JH1-TC diesel engine that is capable to provide maximum power of 106 PS at 3,200 rpm and maximum torque of 230 N-m from 1,400-3,200 rpm, which is also EURO IV compliant. The Isuzu QKR has a total gross vehicle weight of 4,490 kgs and a multi-leaf spring suspension for added passenger comfort.

The Isuzu-CENTRO Class II jeepney  maintains side-facing fixed foam seats, 23-passenger standard type cabin (seated and standing), sliding windows, electric folding service door, and is fully air-conditioned.

On the 20th of the same month, was the test drive for Almazora – another modern jeepney prototype by Isuzu. Present were Isuzu Sales Manager Romeo A. Agarin and Development Bank of the Philippines Senior Manager Edgardo T. Manalo representative Assistant Manager and  Account Officer Richie Orven P. Flores. The road test was done from Naguilian Road to Tam-awan-Concordia College-Longlong-La Trinidad-Baguio CBD- Pacdal then back to Naguilian Road.

The Isuzu Almazora  prototype which is also a Class II jeepney measures  6,270 mm and 1,795 mm. With BluePower tech, the modern PUV follows Euro 4 standards. The 3.0-liter diesel, dubbed the 4JH1-TC, makes 106 PS and 230 Nm of torque. While the figures seem conservative, Isuzu says the engine has been tuned with durability and efficiency in mind. That means these new PUVs are fuel-injected. Found under the chassis are the interchangeable battery and fuel tank location. It has CCTV installed, fully airconditioned, electric folding service door, side-facing seat configuration, and this vehicle can accommodate more than 22 passengers both seated and standing.

These prototypes tested in Baguio city are just samples of the modernized jeepney. The old jeepney company Sarao and other manufacturers are also adapting to the change and upgrading the old jeepney design we are all used to.

The standard dimensions for the modern PUVs were conceptualized by the Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS), and supported by the Automotive Body Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (ABMAP), the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP), Philippine Parts Makers Association of the Philippines (PPMA), and the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Philippine Standards.

The modernized jeepneys boast of the following features: CCTV camera, Bigger and more comfortable seats, entrance and exit is located at the side of the new jeepneys, instead of having it at the back, Speed limiter, Free Wi-Fi, Dashboard camera, Euro 4 engine or better, Euro 4 Emission, Automated fare collection system (card reader), Emergency exits, Ramp and space to accommodate (PWD) Persons with Disabilities, Air-conditioner (optional)

Change is coming. Jeepneys need to evolve in order to survive and we better be ready to adapt for our own good.

By Jing Samonte, CBSTC

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