History of Jeepney Manufacturers in the Philippnes
History of Jeepney Manufacturers in the Philippnes
Although the original jeepneys were simply refurbished military jeeps (Willys & Ford), modern jeepneys are now produced by independently owned workshops and factories in the Philippines. In the central Philippine island of Cebu, the bulk of jeepneys are built from second-hand Japanese trucks, originally intended for cargo. 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 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 theMitsubishi Fuso 4D30 diesel engines). The second type is the large volume manufacturer. They have 2 subgroups: the PUJ, or "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. 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, located 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, Marinel (jeepney makers based in Rizal which is popular for theirpatok (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), Sarao Motors and Armak (one of the largest). Another manufacturer, PBJ Motors, manufactured jeepneys in Pampanga using techniques derived from Sarao Motors. Armak now sells remanufactured trucks and vehicles as an adjunct, alongside its jeepneys.
In Cebu, popular jeepney manufacturers are Chariot and RDAK, known for its "flat-nosed" jeepneys made from surplus Suzuki minivans and Isuzu Elf trucks, which are no longer in use in Japan. These are equipped with high-powered sound systems, racing themes, and are bigger and taller than those in Manila.
In Iloilo City, jeepneys called passad are known for as replicas of sedans or pickup trucks, the vehicles' body much lower which resembles more of a sedan chassis with an elongated body.
Passenger jeepneys are also facing increasing restrictions and regulations for pollution control, as they increase traffic volume 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 seeking fares, there is pressure to remove them from the streets of Manila and other cities.
The cost for a new jeepney will also rise due to the increased costs of raw materials and the need to use new engines. The supply of remanufactured engines is slowly dropping with wear and age, and the number of engine rebuilders 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 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 air-conditioning intended for buses. Local automobile parts manufacturers are now planning the production of electric jeepneys.
Practices, etiquette, and parlance
Jeepneys are often manned by two people, the driver and the conductor (also informally called the "backride"). If present, the conductor manages passengers and takes care of fare collection. At designated stops, a dispatcher/barker will usually also be present, calling out route and destination and ushering in passengers. In most vehicles, however, only the driver is present, and passengers have to ask the adjacent passengers to pass on the fare to the driver. The driver in this case, relies on the honesty of the passengers to pay the proper amount of fare, as he has no way of checking how much is paid by each individual.
Jeepneys can be flagged down much like taxis by holding out or waving an arm at the approaching vehicle. Because of the proximity of the passengers in jeepneys, a certain etiquette is followed. Jostling and shoving passengers is considered rude, the elderly and women are always seated, talking loudly and boisterous behavior is discouraged. Children are sometimes allowed to ride for free if they agree to sit on the lap of the accompanying adult and not take up seating space. If the jeepney is full, passengers (only males) will also sometimes cling outside or sit on the roof instead (referred to colloquially as sabit in Tagalogand kabit or kapyot in Cebuano; both meaning 'to hang on with your fingertips'). This practice is dangerous and illegal.
To ask the driver to stop the vehicle, passengers can rap their knuckles on the roof the jeepney, rap a coin on a metal handrail, or simply tell the driver to stop. Modern jeepneys often install buzzers and buttons to make it easier for the passengers. The usual parlance for asking a driver to stop is para, from Spanish 'stop', a word that is rarely used outside of this context in recent days. It is also preferred that the passengers call out the words rather than knock, as evidenced in the common admonition from drivers: Ang katok, sa pinto; ang sutsot, sa aso; ang `para', sa tao (Knocking is for doors; whistling is for dogs; parafor humans).
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.)
Another word for jeepney is fierra but it's rarely 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.)
In a BBC television program called Toughest Place to Be a Bus Driver, a London bus driver goes to Manila and has to adjust to driving a Jeepney.