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Iloilo kicks off PUVMP as IPC turns over first 15 modernized jeepneys to Metro Express Connect

August 02, 2018

Iloilo City, July 31 -- Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) turned over this morning the initial batch of 15 modernized jeepneys to Metro Express Connect Inc.

The formal turnover ceremony, attended by Mr. Hajime Koso (President of Isuzu Phils Corp), Engr. Ric Pallesco (General Manager and President of MetroExpress Connect, Inc.), DOTr Asec. Mark de Leon, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra and Villar Group founder Mr. Manny Villar, marks a significant milestone for the province, as this signals the start of the government's Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) in Iloilo.

Ceremonial turnover of key by Isuzu Phils Corp.’s President Hajime Koso (middle) to MetroExpress Connect Inc.’s General Manager Ric Pallesco – witnessed by key government officials, Isuzu dealer officers and suppliers.

The same modernized jeepneys that were turned over in Manila last June 18 --designed and built by IPC in partnership with body builder Almazora Motors Corp--will now ply the routes serviced by Metro Express Connect Inc.

During the formal turnover ceremonies, Koso remarked, "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'. But what sets it apart is that it is also very much a progressive urban center with a vision for its future, and as such has become the economic and commercial hub of the Western Visayas region. 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."

Koso added that Isuzu's modernized jeepney is also a product of the globally renowned truckmaker's extensive experience with, and knowledge of, the Philippine commercial vehicle market, the road and driving conditions.

Villar Group founder and former senator, Mr. Manny Villar led the ribbon cutting alongside LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra and (L-R) Mr. Conrad Almazora of Almazora Motors, President Hajime Koso of Isuzu Phils Corp., Mr. Ric Pallesco of MetroExpress Connect, Inc., and other key government officials.

The modernized PUVs, assembled using the Isuzu QKR77 platform and the rear body designed and manufactured by Almazora Motors Corp, are air-conditioned Class 2 PUVs with a side-facing seat configuration. The Isuzu QKR platform is assembled in the Philippines and is equipped with Euro IV-compliant 4JH1-TC Diesel Engine that delivers excellent fuel economy.

The new PUV body is compliant with Philippine National Standards (PNS 2126:2017). The passenger cabin floor-to-ceiling height and gangway width are 1,780 mm and 830 mm, respectively, providing 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.

Completing the modernized look and features of the new PUVs are the LED TV monitors for real-time information including station details, route, date, time, weather, news, and advertisement, LED electronic signage for vehicle route information, fire extinguishers, CCTV, dashcam and back-up cameras, and the automatic fare collection -- all geared for passengers' safety, entertainment, and added convenience in fare collection.

A fleet of MetroExpress’ modernized Isuzu PUVs. These fully-air-conditioned modern Isuzu PUVs – the first in Western Visayas – are PWD-friendly (persons with disability) and are equipped with upgraded features, such as automated fare collection system, CCTV, WiFi, GPS (global positioning system), and television monitors.

Members and operators of Metro Express Connect, no strangers to Isuzu light commercial vehicles, chose the truck maker's modernized jeepney primarily for the Isuzu Advantage unmatched by other modernized jeepney makers.

The Isuzu Advantage offers the following:

  • A nationwide network of 41 dealers, complete with servicing facilities. This dealership network is still growing as IPC intensifies expansion this year;
  • Nationwide parts availability, showcased by a 6,000-sqm warehouse facility to cope with the increasing demand for parts;
  • Expert service technicians, and special Japanese truck field engineers available to support and answer customers' queries and other technical requirements;
  • The Isuzu Mobile Medic, specialized service trucks that provide roadside assistance to fleet customers;
  • Training for drivers and mechanics, heavy-duty truck safety driving training and the recently launched eco-driving program to teach fleet drivers the importance of efficient driving.

The initial batch of 15 units IPC turned over to Metro Express Connect represents half of the original order of 30 units of the mass transport provider.

The same design and build excellence, and Isuzu Advantage apply to the other modernized jeepneys from IPC with bodybuilder partners Santarosa and Centro Motors Corp.

"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 PUVMP is envisioned to replace some 200,000 jeepneys nationwide 15 years and older with new, safe and environmentally friendly public utility vehicles.

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