Grateful Dad #24.23: Jeepney Ride

December 30, 2023

A recent jeepney ride, brought back many memories and experiences throughout my many years of commuting.

A few weeks ago, during the peak of the office Christmas Party celebrations, I decided to go to Makati to kill time while waiting for Mommy Khris. I thought of walking to PBCom Tower but then I changed my mind because I wanted to get there faster so that I’d have time to check the restaurants. The best option was to take a jeepney to Ayala.

Grateful Dad #24.23: Jeepney Ride

Grateful Dad #24.23: Jeepney Ride

I was quite excited about the prospect, however, it’s been a long time since I last rode a jeepney, so I couldn’t remember how much the minimum fare was anymore. I thought that it was in the range of P8 to P10 but I was wrong; it was already P12. I wasn’t ready for it when I got to the jeepney station, I ended up scrambling and fumbling for coins. As the vehicle cruised its way to Ayala Avenue, it brought back some memories of my jeepney rides – some funny, some frustrating, but all memorable.

Unknown to many people who are close to me, the jeepney used to be my favorite vehicle as a child. I loved looking at the overall design of the jeepney – the body, the hood, and all the colorful embellishments. I loved it so much that I had to ask my parents to buy me a toy jeepney, which they did! I remember them giving the toy to me as a Christmas present – a red jeepney with silver-colored plastic trimmings and wheels. It was perfect and looked just like how I wanted it. The toy jeepney is literally a miniature model version of the actual vehicle. It was my favorite toy for weeks until my interest dwindled. The toy broke when a playmate “rode” on it like a motorcycle.

As I grew up though, I kind of had a love-hate relationship with jeepneys. I still loved riding it during summer vacations and holidays in the province. Being an introvert though, I felt some tension when riding the jeep alone because of all the unfamiliar people I’d have to sit with. I was finally able to conquer that fear during college since I’d have to ride a jeepney every day on the way to class – the well-known Ikot jeep in UP Diliman. Soon, I was confident enough to ride different UP jeepneys to take me to nearby places like Philcoa, Pantranco, SM North, and Katipunan.

At one point, jeepneys have become a medium for artwork. I’m sure a lot of people my age would remember jeepneys with painted interiors and flamboyant decorations. It’s just a pity that modern jeepneys have lost their artistic touches, so to speak.

I actually find the jeepney to be an efficient mode of public transportation. It’s not perfect, of course. Like anywhere else, there are drivers who are disciplined and principled and there are those who are unscrupulous. Just the same, jeepneys get the job done. Up to now, I’m still in awe of the resourcefulness of jeepney drivers on the road and their uncanny ability to dodge traffic.

Of late, jeepneys have become a hot topic in news broadcasts and social media but for an unfavorable reason. There is an ongoing Jeepney Modernization Program that aims to phase out old jeepneys from the road and replace them with, well, modern jeepneys.

I quote a news item from the Philippine News Agency; the Jeepney Modernization Program aims to “… implement a standard to maximize the benefits of modern jeepneys across the country. All jeepney engines should at least be Euro-4 and PNS- (Philippine National Standards) compliant engines or LPG-powered, electronic, and hybrid. Having GPS, an automated fare collection system and a CCTV camera are other features to look for to be considered as a modernized jeepney. Furthermore, at least 15 years old can no longer be registered or operated.”

Looking at that objective alone, the program definitely sounds tempting and advantageous to commuters. However, that’s just another side of the story. The program would put many jeepney drivers at a disadvantage because of the high cost of purchasing and maintaining a modern jeepney. With that, what would be left of their meager income would be close to nothing.

In a way, the Jeepney Modernization Program would just further marginalize an already marginalized segment of our society.

Of course, this is not a simplistic issue; this story has many angles. I just hope the Government would still think about its move carefully, mindful of those who would be affected. In the end, I hope we can all find a common ground where all stakeholders will benefit. I hope the Government will be able to provide options for jeepney drivers so that they can keep their livelihood. I hope some jeepney drivers would also be open to opportunities that would allow them to be better at providing service to their fellow Filipinos.

What are your thoughts on this issue? I’d love to know them. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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  1. Isa sa pambansang public vehicle ang jeepney kaya naman for me talaga ito na ang nakasanayan kong sakyan eversince lalo na din nong nagwowork pa ako sa maynila . Kaya naman talagang mahirap para sa mga jeepney driver kong sila'y mawalan ng panghanapbuhay dahil halos talaga sa pamamasada lang sila kumikita but still may positive din naman na side yong desisyon na ito nang gobyerno and hopefully bigyan nga ng pansin ang mga mamamayan na mawawalan ng hanapbuhay.

  2. Nakalakihan ko na ang pagsakay sakay sa jeepney since bata pa ako at nakakalungkot isipin na till now Wala pa ring solusyon ang problemang ito at most na maaapektuhan talaga ang pamilyang nila at Hindi sapat na dahilan ang paggamit Ng modernized na jeepney dahil Hindi lahat ay may Pera para makabilo at makagamit nito