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Bigger, Cleaner, Safer: How PH's Future Jeepneys Would Look Like

DOTr showcases prototypes of some modern public utility vehicles at a day-long exhibit
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The Department of Transportation (DOTr) unveiled the biggest number of vehicle prototypes to be used for the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) at an exhibit held in Pasay City on Tuesday, April 3.

The expo, titled Public Transport Modernization Expo: Modernong Sasakyan, Progresibong Bayan, showcased 28 vehicles—five low-floor Public Utility Buses (PUBs), 20 PUVs and three electric tricycles. The designs for all the prototypes have been approved by the Bureau of Philippine Standards, according to the DOTr.

Just last month, the transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston), an association of drivers and operators, held a nationwide strike to protest the looming PUV modernization program, arguing the costs are not affordable for its members.

But the DOTr said it will push through with the program, saying it will benefit the commuting public.

“We’re talking about a large-scale transformation of the public transport sector. We’re not talking about repairs and band-aid solutions; we are overhauling the fleets, the system, and the industry. This is easily the biggest non-infrastructure project of the government, giving its sweeping and inclusive impact,” DOTr Undersecretary for Road Transportation and Infrastructure Thomas M. Orbos said during his keynote speech.

Both local and international manufacturers exhibited at the expo to familiarize current and future PUV owners and investors with the new designs of the public transport vehicles. Among all of the units showcased, PUVs were the most in number at 20.

All jeepneys in display had seating capacities of at least 17 people and can accommodate around five to 10 standing passengers. All units also had CCTV systems installed and equipped with a smart card payment equipment, as mandated by the PUV Modernization program for PUVs.

Below are some of the PUV prototypes that were on display at the expo.

1) Manufacturer: Chang'an Automobile

Cost: Php1.56 million (with air condition)

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Seating capacity: 22

Standing passengers: 9

According to Pasang Masda National President Obet Martin, Chang’an Automobile has held talks with their cooperative as early as 2015 for the design of its version of the modernized jeepney. The Chinese manufacturer is one of the oldest automobile companies in mainland China specializing in the production of passenger cars, microvans and trucks. The company’s version of the PUV is already equipped with a Euro-4 engine, an air-condition unit and runs on diesel.

2) Manufacturer: Santa Rosa Motorworks

Estimated cost: Php1.6 million to Php1.8 million

Seating capacity: 22

Standing passengers: 7 to 8

With or without air condition

A local vehicle maker, Santa Rosa Motorworks only started to build modernized jeepneys two years ago. The company used to only specialize in building vehicle bodies of commercial trucks. The manufacturer’s prototype is also equipped with Euro-4 engine and can hold 60 liters of diesel fuel.

3) Manufacturer: Star 8 Green

Estimated cost: Php2.2 million to Php2.8 million

Seating capacity: 25

Standing passengers: 10

With or without air condition

Star 8 Green is one of the three “green” manufacturing companies that exhibited at the expo with four types of solar-powered jeepneys in its portfolio. The one in photo is its non-air-conditioned jeepney that can hold 25 sitting passengers. The unit is equipped with more than 20 personal electric fans and a flat TV screen.

Its smaller e-jeepneys have a cheaper price tag that ranges from Php1.6 million to Php1.8 million but can only accommodate 22 sitting passengers and five standing ones.

The Australian company is also pioneering the use of marshals inside jeepneys or an extra personnel that may help the driver accommodate the passengers in its vehicle. The company said the marshal will not only serve as an assistant but as extra set of eyes for the company to ensure drivers are performing accordingly.

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4) Manufacturer: Tojo Motors Corp.

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Estimated cost: Php950,000

Seating capacity: 17

Standing passengers: 5 to 10

With or without air condition

Another “green” company, Tojo Motors Corp. specializes in the manufacture of battery-operated vehicles starting with e-trikes in 2013. The company diversified its portfolio in 2016 to accommodate the looming surge of orders for modernized jeepneys.

Its version of the e-jeepney can operate for eight hours with a fully charged battery.

To keep costs affordable for jeepney operators, the company employs a rental scheme for the use of its battery. While the unit costs only Php950,000, drivers would have to rent a fully-charged battery for Php500 per use to operate the vehicle. The battery can also be bought for Php1.2 million.

5) Manufacturer: Del Monte Motor Works Inc.

Estimated cost: Php1.6 million to Php1.9 million

Seating capacity: 18

Standing passengers: 5

With or without air condition

Local bus manufacturer Del Monte Motor Works Inc. has long been a partner of Hyundai Motors for the manufacture of its units. While Del Monte creates the bodies of the vehicles, Hyundai provides the engines and other internal equipment needed for the units.

For its version of the modernized jeepney, the firm patterned its seating design arrangement after a typical mini bus. The unit also runs on diesel and has versions with and without air condition.

6) Manufacturer: Hino Motors

Estimated cost: Php1.6 million to Php1.9 million

Seating capacity: 19

Standing passengers: 7

With or without air condition

A Toyota Group Company, Hino Motors Corp. has long been engaged in the manufacture, assembly and distribution of trucks, buses and related vehicle spare parts.

For its version of the modern jeepney, Hino Motors’ adopted the exterior design of a mini bus with an elevated platform and huge rears. However, it made sure to keep the design of the Filipino jeepney with long benches on either side of the vehicle.

Two other vehicle manufacturers – PhUV Inc. and Isuzu Philippines Corp. – also showed prototypes at the exhibit. However, information was not immediately available on their products. Neither did they have representatives on hand to provide more details about their prototypes.

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