Philippine Jeepney History
Philippine Jeepney History
Getting Around in the City|
Public utility jeepneys ply the routes from the central business district to the suburbs passing along the major thoroughfares. After the war, surplus army jeeps were converted into the famous "jeepneys" seating about 12 to 15 passengers on longitudinal benches behind the driver’s partition. They are privately owned and ply along fixed routes painted on the side of the vehicles. Fares are modest, and they stop anywhere on request.
Why Jeepneys Rule
Jeeps don't just look good. The jeepney system is the world's best and most convenient public transportation system. In no other country do you have competition - intense competition - between buses plying the same route. In all other countries, any particular route is operated by just one bus company. In the Philippines, each individual bus is owned by a different owner, and as a result you have buses competing with each other for customers. (Some operators own as many as a dozen jeeps, but these still amount to only a small fraction of the total number of jeeps plying that route.)
The bus companies in Europe, American, and Japan are monopolies for the routes that they operate. The bus company alone decides how frequently a bus is sent along a route to pick up passengers. While a city may have several bus companies, all ply different routes, and in effect amount to monopolies for the routes that they operate.
Like all monopolies, the bus companies of the developed world provide only the bare minimum of resources, and service is only as good as it has to be. As a result, buses are infrequent, and passengers have to scurry to the bus station to catch a bus. So used to being controlled by monopolies are the consumers of the industrialized world that they think nothing of carrying around bus schedules and fretting about missing their only hope of transportation. Moreover, drivers and conductors (if available) will often be downright rude to their customers.
In the Philippines , jeeps compete with each along the same route. Competition for customers is intense, and thousands of jeeps eke out a living gathering as many customers as possible by running as often as possible.
The result? The customer benefits, and passengers are bombarded with offers to ride along. Neither do Filipino passengers have to trek to a bus station - so eager are jeeps to gain your patronage, that they will stop anywhere for you as long as you are within sight. This is to the detriment of people in private cars, but to the benefit of the
History of the Philippine Jeepney
Jeepneys are a 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.
As 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. Locals 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 reestablish inexpensive public transportation, which had been virtually destroyed during World War II. Recognizing the wide-spread 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 the original jeepneys were simply refurbished military jeeps, modern jeepneys are now produced by independently owned factories within the Philippines. In the central Philippine island of Cebu, the bulk of jeepneys are built using second-hand Japanese trucks, originally intended for hauling cargo rather than passengers. These are euphemistically known as "surplus" trucks.