from the commuter

The photos which I took myself are random images of commuting and life. Enjoy the ride!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jeepneys and fares

In a third world country like ours, the Philippines, owning a car is a luxury reserved for the rich. Those who are not take the public transport, and, boy, there are so many of us who keep the various PUV's (Public Utility Vehicle) in business.

A certain jeepney-riding culture has been formed from our long relationship with the jeepney, initially called jitney, a military conveyance transformed into the ever-dependable 'service' of the people. Its existence has largely to do with Filipinos' honesty. It may raise an eyebrow, but our jeepney-riding public is honest. How would the operator continue without its passengers who hand their fare from hand to hand until the money reaches the welcoming hands of the driver, who , by the way, multi-tasks? I wonder how drivers are able to keep track of the payment. That's a great skill to master.

The jeepney-riding experience is a great equalizer. Once you hop onto a jeep, you are its passenger and no other social label could change your state at the very moment. So, physical contact should not be frowned upon, unless, of course, it is deemed inappropriate. By physical contact, I mean hand contact since it is the hand that literally transfers the money to energize the jeep. With the hand contact that transpires in the whole transaction, it would be nice to hear the words "thank you," which apparently are increasingly disappearing in jeepney vocabulary. I smile when I hear these precious words aboard the jeep. I remember one jeepney ride, a man who could obviously pass for a snatcher/murder sat opposite me. A plain-looking
woman handed him her fare and said thank you. He responded with the sweetest "You're welcome" I heard in years!That made my long trip eventful!

Having lived in Zamboanga and worked in Manila, I have seen how different passengers pay their fare. I notice in Manila that most passengers hand in their fare the moment they hop onto jeep. In Zamboanga, they normally pay when they are about to get off. Sometimes they stand beside the driver to wait for their change. As a result, this causes some inconvenience to the driver and other passengers and also to the other vehicles plying the street. But it's culture. Also, I notice in Zamboanga, their notion of fare is proportional to distance. They don't seem to follow the fare matrix. I see people handing five pesos to the driver when the minimum is seven, and yet the driver does not complain.The same cannot be said in Manila. You'll surely get your share of verbal barrage when that happens. I still would like that people follow the fare rates imposed. Mamang driver is like any other person working for a living. It's best we give what is due to them, in the same manner that we expect they bring us to our destinations safely.

to be continued...


This is sad. As everyone else is probably over with this blogging business, here I am starting one. Why am I doing this? Like what I tell everyone, each one of us is in need of an audience. Am I doing this for attention? It's pathetic, but I continue to type onto the keyboard. The Christmas jingles keep me company. Will you, too?