ARMAK Jeep of the Philippines
ARMAK Jeep of the Philippines
Jeepneys are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. They were originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II and are well known for their flamboyant decoration and crowded seating. They have also become a symbol of Philippine culture.
Another word for jeepney is fierra but it's almost never used. It is best known in a song called Ang Fierra ni Juan ay may Butas sa Gulong (Juan's Jeep has a Hole in the Tire) Fierra being actually a brand of Asian Utility Vehicle produced by Ford which is also used as a jeepney.
When American troops began to leave the Philippines at the end of World War II, hundreds of surplus jeeps were sold or given to local Filipinos. The Filipinos stripped down the jeeps to accommodate several passengers, added metal roofs for shade, and decorated the vehicles with vibrant colors and bright chrome hood ornaments.
The jeepney rapidly emerged as a popular and creative way to re-establish inexpensive public transportation, which had been virtually destroyed during World War II. Recognizing the widespread use of these vehicles, the Philippine government began to place restrictions on their use. Drivers now must have specialized licenses, regular routes, and reasonably fixed fares.
Although several types of jeepneys have been produced, the jeepneys have only begun evolving recently, in response to environmental and economical concerns.
A jeepney ready for decoration
2nd Generation Jeepneys
Fully assembled from refurbished engines. Some also have air-conditioning units, most popularly in Makati. Most of these kinds of jeepneys have radically expanded passenger capacities, and more often are flamboyant and noisy. Many of jeeps from this generation are notorious for smoke belching, and almost all of them run on diesel.
3rd Generation Jeepneys
Jeepneys that are manufactured using brand new engine components. Many of these kinds of jeeps come with improved air-conditioning and more closely resembles a mini-bus.
Electric jeepneys are being test-run in Makati. In response to calls for reduced greenhouse gas emissions and the rise of oil prices, a limited number of these vehicles have been deployed. A final plan to implement electric jeepneys is yet to be announced. Future jeepneys to be locally built will belong in this category.
E-jeepneys, short for electrical Jeepneys, were the brainchild of Green Renewable Independent Power Producers, Inc. or GRIPP in partnership with Mr Robert Puckett, President of Solar Electric Company in the Philippines. These E-jeepneys or minibuses, under the support of Greenpeace started plying Manila / Makati City streets on July 1, 2008. 4 e-jeeps were launched by Makati mayor Jejomar Binay on 2007, with 2 prototypes from Guangzhou, China at P 371,280 each. "The first public transport system of its kind in South-East Asia," the vehicles can be charged by plugging into an electric socket, using power from biodegradable waste. E-jeepneys would also soon begin commercial operations in Puerto Princesa, Bacolod and Baguio. The 2 new e-jeeps were made by the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (MVPMAP), while the first 4 units were made in China. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board classified and registered them as LSV (low-speed vehicles) or 4-wheeled motor vehicles that use alternative fuel such as electricity and running a maximum 40 km per hour. The E-jeepney carries 17 passengers and can run 120 km on an 8-hour charge from an electric outlet.
A Jeepney in Manila.
Although the original jeepneys were simply refurbished military jeeps (Willys & Ford), modern jeepneys are now produced by independently owned workshops and factories within the Philippines. In the central Philippine island of Cebu, the bulk of jeepneys are built from second-hand Japanese trucks, originally intended for hauling cargo rather than passengers. These are euphemistically known as "surplus" trucks.
Recently the jeepney industry has faced threats to its survival in its current form. Most of the larger builders have either gone bankrupt or have switched to manufacturing other products. Currently there are 2 classes of jeepney builders in the Philippines. The backyard builders produce 1-5 vehicles a month, source their die stamped pieces from one of the larger manufacturers, and work with used engines and chassis from salvage yards (usually the Isuzu 4BA1, 4BC2, 4BE1 series diesel engines or the Mitsubishi Fuso 4D30 diesel engines--a shift from the Isuzu C240 engine that powered early jeepneys). The second type of manufacturer is the large volume manufacturer. They have 2 sub groups: the PUJ (Public Utility Jeep) and the large volume metal-stamping companies that supply parts as well as complete vehicles.
The jeepney builders in the past were mostly based in Cebu City and Las Piñas City; however, with the recent slowdown of sales, many of the smaller builders have gone out of business. The largest manufacturer of owner-type jeeps in the Philippines is David Motors Inc. in Quezon City, located on the north side of Metro Manila. The largest manufacturer of vintage style army jeepneys is MD Juan.
Other manufacturers/marks include Mega (which also produces the Lanceta line of jeepneys, in Lipa), Malagueña (whose factory in Cavite was the site of one of the very first Yield Stops of The Amazing Race), LGS Motors, Morales, Hebron, Jerusalem, Marinel (jeepney makers based in Rizal which is popular for their patok (popular) jeepneys which are equipped with high-powered sound systems, aggressive racing themes and lettering/fonts, and their speed--some even achieving a "lowered"-style) and Sarao Motors , and Armak (one of the largest). Another manufacturer PBJ motors manufactured jeepneys in Pampanga using techniques derived from Sarao Motors. Armak nowadays sell remanufactured trucks and vehicles on the side to survive, alongside its jeepneys.
Passenger jeepneys are also facing increasing restrictions and regulations for pollution controls, as they increase amounts of traffic and consume lots of fuel. A recent study published in a Metro Manila newspaper compared the fuel use of a 16-passenger jeepney to a 54-passenger air-conditioned bus and found that the fuel consumption for both was the same. With major roads clogged by empty jeepneys cruising for fares, there is intense pressure to remove them from the streets of Metro Manila and other cities.
The cost for a new jeepney will also rise due to the increased costs of raw materials like steel and the need to use new engines to power their vehicles. The supply of remanufactured used engines is slowly dropping as wear and age take their toll and the number of factories that rebuild engines diminishes.
The jeepney industry has evolved more quickly in the past 2 years than it has in the past 50 years. Many local manufacturers are moving to build more modern-looking jeepneys such as Hummer lookalikes and oversized Toyota van-style passenger jeepneys with Toyota headlights, hoods and bumpers. Manufacturers in Nueva Ecija also started making jeepneys with fronts resembling AUVs like the Honda CR-V or the Toyota Tamaraw. Already in production is a jeepney the size of a small bus and is equipped with state-of-the-art vehicle technology (brand-new engine and drivetrain) and Thermo-King-brand airconditioning intended for buses. Local automobile parts manufacturers are now planning the production of electricity-run jeepneys.
In the Philippines, a jeepney is called as is, as its shorter wheelbase counterparts (Jeeps) are called owners, short for its local description owner-type jeep (as jeepneys are also called passenger-type jeeps.)
This mode of transportation has become one of the symbols of contemporary Philippine society,cabatang . lusacan at tiong and especially that of Filipino ingenuity. It is adorned with different types of stickers, large and small, of images of god-knows-what and anything man can ever conceptualize. The stickers emblazoned in the metallic body of this automotive monster range from the image of the virgin mother, a beer bottle, an image of Michael Jordan, to a representation of the Martians invading the Earth. If you see American walls full of grafitti, call the graffiti in jeepney as informal art - graffiti on wheels.