Abolish the Jeepney

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By Giano M. Libot

I have issues

Thursday, January 16, 2014


WHAT seems like a radical proposal, perhaps striking at the cord of many interested groups, from the cultural to the industrial, The Jeepney is not just a pop culture icon, it is a symbol of our version of mass transportation and one that stands through time as the one-all-be-all of a Filipinos means to get from point A to point B.

In Cagayan de Oro the jeepney represents a huge sector in the transportation field, there are numerous Jeepney drivers as there are numerous economies that connect from Jeepney owners, to conductors that facilitate the pay, to terminal operators, to even those position-less hawkers that collect some sort of toll fee when a jeep stops at a pickup area. There is so much that goes on in one jeepney, and levels of pay that move through it. Are we really all too bold to declare that the icon, the pillar of transport-means for the regular pinoy be abolished?

The Jeepney is a historical figure, and I’m here to declare that it has already served its purpose, and should be as most historical figures be placed in a museum, never to be ridden again. The Jeepney is admittedly a practical means of transport, but the looseness in the franchising has also meant that a lot of jeeps along with their drivers are mostly very irresponsible motorists, this no general obnoxious claim, nor is it a highbrow means of demeaning hardworking men and women who simply want to earn a living.

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But it is without a doubt a reality, and one operators don’t seem to face with as much urgency as oppose to collecting their days share of the it income. The loose regulations and the inadequacy for maintaining quality, yes quality is not a word you ever associate with a jeep, it has always been practical, but at this age, should we always settle for practical as only?

The Jeep is also a huge space consumer, its design hails from the previous military jeeps left over by the Americans during WW2, and over the years it hasn’t made any progressive change. On the road the jeep in the city streets of Cagayan de Oro remain as hazard to fellow motorists and pedestrians, often with little regard to safety as a number of vehicular accidents have often always featured the Jeepney.

But if we say move to strike off the jeepney, this shouldn’t mean that it comes at an immediate halt, perhaps a staggered and slow transfer and shift to much more efficient means of transportation like a Train system in Cagayan de Oro would be most useful, we’d have to slowly not renew franchises for really old jeeps, and shorten the remaining franchises for the newer ones. There should be an alternative economic plan for the drivers and the operators that will perhaps lose their livelihood, there are many other ways to earn.

The huge takeaway from all this is that the transport sector, especially mass transit needs a shift in perspective, there are promising developments like the creation of E-Jeeps, which are less space consuming, more efficient, and does not guzzle on gas. Perhaps in a bold move to rid of our past, we can focus on the present and make best the direction of our future.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 16, 2014.

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