There’s no doubt that the jeepney, aside from being a national symbol of transportation, moreover embodies the richness of the Philippines’ culture diversity and art. Bearing the values which Filipinos are recognized for, the jeepney is built with resilience, creativity, and hospitality—providing service within the masses’ reach, considering it as the cheapest way to commute in the country.
However, it has been decades since the use of these vehicles originated. Some of the jeepneys on the road have been in full operation since the 90s, which transformed them into worn-out – but operational – wheels that subtract the quality from the riding experience for commuters. Some have become mechanically unsound, carrying balding tires that yaw from distorted subframes, capped off with release of poor emissions that are toxic not just for the commuters, but for the environment as well.
To resolve this major transportation issue, in 2017, the government launched the PUV Modernization Program – a project that calls for the phasing-out jeepneys, buses and other Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) that are at least 15 years old, replacing them with safer, more comfortable and more environmentally-friendly workhorses. This program enables all vehicles and services to comply with the national standards and international vehicle safety conventions.
As one of the leading commercial vehicle brands in the Philippines, FOTON Motor Philippines, Inc. (FMPI) designed a vehicle entry for the PUV modernization program.
“In support to the major development plan of the government, FOTON Philippines also aims to build a rationalized, modern, well-managed and environment-friendly transport system where drivers and operators will experience stable, adequate and dignified livelihoods through the all-new FOTON Jeepney.” announced FOTON Philippines President Rommel Sytin.
The FOTON Jeepney, also known as F-Jeep, was derived from the brand’s best-selling light duty truck, the Tornado 2.4C, with the rear body designed by Centro Manufacturing Corp. – one of the country’s leading regional providers of quality truck bodies and truck-related equipment and services. It carries an ISF 2.8S41 17V CRDI 4-cylinder, in-line, water-cooling turbo charger Cummins diesel engine that is paired to a 5-speed manual transmission. The vehicle generates 116 hp at 3,200 rpm, and a torque of 260 N-m at 1,300 – 3,200 rpm, belonging to FOTON’s line-up of Blue Energy Euro 4 compliant vehicles designed for cleaner and more powerful mobility.
“FOTON Philippines understands the importance of being able to move a large number of people reliably, safely as well as with care for the environment. And from this, we see the role of the F-Jeep as a workhorse and multi-functional partner for the growing number of PUV operators in the country.” added Sytin.
Compared to the average jeepney, the F-Jeep is equipped with stainless fixed bench type seats that can hold a capacity up to 24 passengers—16 seating and 8 standing. With a length of 5650 mm, 1828 mm width, and 2615 mm height, the F-Jeep is more spacious, providing maximized room for cargo and legroom. It has comparatively wider passenger doors, making ingress and egress a whole lot easier.
Conceivably, the overriding consideration about the new array of contemporary PUVs from FOTON Philippines is the convenience and security that commuters will have the benefit of.
“The scorching heat brought by climate change, the heavy traffic that runs you out of time, the discomfort in riding on nearly dilapidated vehicles brings so much hassle to the commuters. We want to change that, and we want to provide the Filipinos, especially those who belong to the working class, to get to their destinations quickly, safely and comfortably through the FOTON Jeepney,” shared Sytin.
Aside from the essentials, the F-jeep is also equipped with an airconditioning unit, GPS navigation system, a CCTV camera, dashboard camera, Wi-Fi connection, and entertainment system to keep the passengers in comfort and connected while on the road. These may just be the icing on the cake, but they can make a world of difference in improving the quality of commuting for passengers. The F-Jeep also limits the commuters from the hassle brought by the “pakiabot-po” payment scheme as it boasts of a tap card-based fare collection system. Meaning, no more passing change from one passenger to the other– all you’ll need is a loaded card and you’re good to go.
“It’s time to make a step forward with our entries for the PUV modernization.” said Sytin, “The launch of the FOTON Jeepney will not just provide a comfortable riding experience for the commuters. We also aim to promote the capabilities of the national icon of Philippine transportation.” he added.
“Para” is the most commonly used phrase by commuters to ask their jeepney drivers to stop by a particular destination where they would drop off. For FOTON Philippines, their message ‘Para Sa ‘Pinas’ meant to convey two things: “Stop/Pass by the Philippines” – to let the neighboring areas know that our local transportation system is ready, and “For the Philippines” – that the birth of the F-Jeep is conceptualized and developed to suffice what the Filipinos exactly need, and deserve.