July 22, 2018, 2:11 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.0687 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.01833 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03442 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.51646 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02528 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0333 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03741 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.57108 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03151 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00707 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 32.75309 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01871 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02527 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12832 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07203 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01871 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.27899 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.19255 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 374.4856 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03737 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02464 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01868 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 12.20576 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12563 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 53.5578 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 10.55649 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01871 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.77142 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.41506 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.32024 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11972 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.93303 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.19981 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25129 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33389 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.51106 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01606 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03917 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01429 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01431 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08962 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.88982 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 168.66816 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14005 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 3.88103 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1468 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.44747 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1187 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.26057 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 5.20183 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 269.36027 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06796 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.28159 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 22.25963 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 813.69248 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 1.99588 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.43547 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01325 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.11107 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 1.8771 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.27484 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 75.70146 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 7.90311 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 16.83502 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 21.15413 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00566 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01534 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.4508 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 157.22035 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 28.15189 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 2.98915 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 3.00412 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24822 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05703 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01161 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02573 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17723 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.31076 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.98373 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 26.78638 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 45.80995 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15122 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.64048 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.64347 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.29125 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 13.40105 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.35353 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07589 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24819 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.7153 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.58586 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15284 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 2.04293 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02753 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00719 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01871 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06114 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06073 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.39618 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0692 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 106.97905 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06809 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07472 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.18 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 15.95267 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07015 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14747 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25122 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33483 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16573 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02554 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0143 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.41538 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 153.38571 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.68088 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 393.68313 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16367 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.633 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24845 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.62252 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04952 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04351 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08966 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12587 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.57159 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 42.49906 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.49158 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 69.56977 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01871 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.58277 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 145.09914 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 2239.05724 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 431.12608 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.04265 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04883 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.52881 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05051 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.52881 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.90591 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.67265 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24818 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 97.07258 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 6.76955 Zimbabwe dollar

Test driving the Tata Pilipinas Jeepney

IN my long years as a motoring journalist, I have driven several types of vehicles. In the 90s, I drove a vintage 1940s Jeep in Camiguin Island. The Army-type vehicle only had two gears left in its transmission so you can just imagine how slow my drive was. But it managed to bring me and my wife to Camiguin’s Ardent Hot Springs from the port.  I also drove a Russian-made Lada Niva 4x4 compact SUV from Davao City to Cagayan de Oro and a China-assembled Beijing 2020 SUV in Davao City.  In 1995, I drove the Popemobile which was based on an Anfra AUV with 1.6L Mazda gasoline engine in Las Pinas City before it was delivered to the Archbishop’s Palace by Francisco Motor Corporation. The vehicle used by Pope John Paul II in his visit was heavy with all the reinforced metal walls and bullet-proofed heavy glass windshields and windows and non-flat  solid rubber tires. In the latter years, I drove hybrid and electric cars,  a bus, a delivery, a truck head and various cars, SUVs and pickups. 

Jeepneys? Yes, I drove one before and on two occasions, I was a passenger on the roofs holding only on the metal bar reinforcement in Banawe, Ifugao and in Batanes.

I have also seen how overloaded jeepneys have become dangerous for commuters. One time, I was driving on Osmena Highway in Pasay City and I saw a snatcher taking the bag of a lady passenger in a jeepney.  The passenger did not let go of her bag easily and she and the snatcher fell from the rear of the jeepney. There were also instances when passengers sitting on the floor of the jeepney’s rear  dropped on the ground as the jeepney passed over potholes. Speeding jeepneys have also been involved in road crashes resulting scores of passengers being injured or even killed. Current jeepneys have no seatbelts for rear passengers and thousands have defective brakes and fume-emitting engines.

Pilipinas Taj, Inc, distributors of Tata vehicles in the country, is one of the vehicle manufacturers that joined the government’s  Jeepney Modernization Program, an ambitious project that aims to  replace over 250,000 jeepneys nationwide in five years. I have seen most of the modernized jeepneys displayed in a show last year by the proponents that include Isuzu, Hino, Fuso, Hyundai, Mahindra and Foton. But nothing can beat the experience of driving one.

So one afternoon, I went to the Tata headquarters in Marikina City to  test drive the Tata Jeepney. Tata already has two proto types of  its jeepney built on the specifications by the the Philippine National Standard committee on the government’s PUJ (public utility jeep) modernization program.

The Jeepney is based on the SFC 407 (Tata 407) light truck. It is a minibus  which offers seating for 22 passengers in two full-size rows across the sides. It also has hanging handles that can keep some 6- 8 standing passengers in place during rush hours.The windows are significantly larger, and the single ingress-egress location is at the cabin’s right section.

Both the Class 3 and Class 2 jeepneys are powered by  a 3.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder turbo diesel engine that develops 75 PS at 2,800 rpm and 225 Nm of torque from 1,500-1,800 rpm. It is paired with a 5-speed manual transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. Fuel tank capacity is 60 litres.

Starting the engine of the Class 2 jeepney and getting out of the covered warehouse was easy. Going into the main road was a bit challenging as a number of other vehicles would not give way for us to cross to the other side of the road. We then got to shift to second and third gears and moved on the road with ease. We  turned into a two-lane road going to the City Hall area and I was pleased to find out that Marikina now observes the ‘first in, first to go’ policy in intersections and this made driving an unfamiliar vehicle less of a headache. In minutes, I felt comfortable with the shifting and even doing some reverse maneuvering for momentary parking.

While on the steering wheel, I imagined myself as driver with more than 20 passengers. It would be a heavy responsibility as the safety of the occupants lie mostly in the driver’s hands. But with the new jeepney’s other features, the burden on the driver will be lessened and he can concentrate better on driving. First, payment will be via a ‘beep’ card which works like a cash card and driver need not be bothered by receiving cash fare and giving change. The side door can be operated via remote by the driver so passengers cannot board and dismount from the vehicle as they wish. There is a lot of headroom and legroom in the cabin and with the larger windows, even if the non-air-conditioned type would be more comfortable. The engine is Euro 4 compliant and friendlier to the environment and with the new engine, there will be less or even zero engine breakdown on the road. This will help ease traffic. With the new engine, the unit will also be fuel efficient and will save the operator more money. With one modern jeepney carrying double the passengers of the current jeepney, there will be less jeepneys on the road assuming the phaseout of old jeepneys goes on strictly. The unit will also have CCTV cameras which would be deterrent to crimes on PUVs. Passengers can also have free wifi while on board.

It takes a bit of time adjusting to a bigger vehicle with a manual transmission but for those who have been driving the current jeepneys, this will be no problem.

Of course, the new jeepneys will not be operated by private individuals. The operators and even the jeepney drivers have to form themselves into cooperatives for them to purchase the new jeepneys. Then they can have a team of mechanics that will make sure the units are always in good condition and are worthy of carrying commuters all the time.

The government, meantime, should designate boarding areas for the new jeepneys. This will also help instill discipline on both driver and passengers and will also contribute to a smoother traffic flow.

Tata Motors is confident they can be an active player in the jeepney modernization program. After all, they rank third among the top ten best selling commercial vehicles in the world.

Let’s have these new jeepney on the road soon! 
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