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OK, Jay, Here are my Answers

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Jeepney Code of Honor

My Experiences

A couple of days ago, Jay Stainback had an article here on LiP entitled “Jeepney Code of Honor“. In the article, he spoke of things that he had witnessed on his Jeepney ride, and as he often does, Jay asked some questions at the end of the article.

I enjoyed Jay’s article, but I did not leave a comment. I wanted to comment, but I decided to write a “comment” or “reply” article instead. There was just too much that I wanted to say to make it just a regular comment.

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I ride the Jeepney all of the time

On an average day, I ride at least two jeepneys. Many days I ride a multiple of that number. Sometimes, I don’t go out, like today, I decided to just stay home and get some work done. But, as I write this, it is Thursday, and this will be the first day of the week that I did not ride a jeepney.

Bob, why do you ride the jeepney?

Honestly, not very many foreigners ride the jeepney. It is kind of rare to see a foreigner on the jeepney.

I started riding the jeepney about 5 years ago. I did it at first just to try it out and see what it was like. I found that I enjoyed it, though. I find it to be a cultural lesson for me every time that I ride. I also make a lot of friends on the jeepney, I often get into discussions with people, and I find the people on the jeepney to be quite friendly.

One thing that I find is that being able to speak the local language makes jeepney rides more fun, and easier too. If I could only speak English I would probably find it embarrassing trying to communicate with the driver, or conductor if one is present.

Let’s look at what Jay had to say

Payment

Mostly, I agree with Jay that people are honest and pay honestly. I have seen a few incidents where people either did not pay or paid the wrong amount.

Paid the wrong amount? Yep. I knew they paid the wrong amount because we got on the jeepney together at the terminal, and went a long distance, both getting off at nearly the same destination. The fare should have been P16. But, the other person paid only P8. I knew because she passed the change to me, so I saw what she paid. I did not tell the driver, I didn’t figure it was my business to make a scene.

I do find it rare, though, that people don’t pay, or pay to little.

Passing of the money

Jay said that he liked the passing of the money from passenger to passenger, and I do too. People are helpful, pass your fare along, etc. I have noticed a couple of “problems” though.

Problem one, which usually only applies to me is that from time to time when they want to pay, people will “reach around me” to pass it along. They think that a foreigner can’t be bothered to pass their fare. I would not really call it a problem, but I don’t really like that people will think that I am unfriendly or unhelpful, and I will usually just reach out and grab the money and pass it along for them. Often they act surprised or they just smile.

Problem two is that from time to time you will have some passengers that really just refuse to pass on the fare. I find it pretty rude that they do that, and I can see that other riders think it is rude as well.

Types of Riders

Jay mentioned that generally, the riders are low income, poor people. Of course, low-income people will exclusively ride the jeepney, they really can’t afford the taxi. But, where I live, I see a lot of middle income and even upper-income riders on the jeepney. You can just tell by the way they dress, how they act, and such that they are people of means.

I think that my observation may be influenced by where I live. I live fairly far outside the city center. For example, if I were to ride the Jeepney from where I live to a place called Aldevinco Shopping Center (I commonly get off there), the jeepney fare is P16. If I rode a taxi the meter would usually be somewhere around P300. We are talking nearly 20 times the price. Take that jeepney ride twice (going there and then coming home) and you spend P32, but on a taxi, it would have been about P600. That is a big difference, even if you have money and that is not an issue.

Drivers

Riding the Jeepney with my son, Chris

I find nearly all Jeepney drivers to be both friendly and honest. I enjoy interacting with Jeepney drivers, and they also always seem to be happy to see me board their jeepney. Where we live we go to a terminal to take the Jeep into town, so most of the jeepney drivers know us and recognize us.

I have had some incidents (like Jay mentioned) where the driver would either give me the wrong change (too little), or no change at all. In some cases, it is a mistake, but I also feel certain that the driver thinks that since I am a foreigner he can get away with not giving me change.

When that happens that I am not given change, I just don’t say anything until I am ready to get off of the jeepney. Then I will call out “Lugar lang” to tell the driver to stop because this is my place. He will stop and I will just sit there for a few seconds. If he does not pass the change to me, I will say “Asa ang sukli nako?” (Where is my change?)

Usually, if I ask for my change all of the other passengers will break out laughing because they know that the driver has been caught, and embarrassed that he did not give me change. It is pretty funny. But, you can bet, the next time I ride that same jeepney the driver gives me the change! 🙂

Jay also asked if there are any Female Jeepney drivers. In all of my times of riding a jeepney, I have never seen a female driver (I do know of one female taxi driver in Davao, but only one). However, I have seen many husband/wife teams where the husband is the driver and the wife is the conductor.

Conductors

Mostly jeepneys in Davao don’t have conductors. Just some of the jeepneys that come in from far out of town have conductors. For in-city jeeps, it is just very uncommon.

Jay’s Questions

Do you feel comfortable riding the jeepney?

Yes indeed! I ride every day, as I said. I ride the taxi from time to time, but actually, think I feel more comfortable on the jeep than the taxi now.

Have you ever seen a passenger robbed?

No, I have not. Feyma did see that happen once. Davao is very much a law and order city, though, and crime is very rare here for the most part.

Have I seen or heard of a Jeepney driver robbed?

No, I have not seen any kind of crime on any jeepney I have been on.

Have I ever seen a female jeepney driver?

No, but as I said in the article, I Have seen female conductors (always the wife of the driver). Sometimes the husband and wife are a team and the couple’s kids will even be riding in the front seat with Papa, the driver.

What do I find most interesting about Jeepneys and riding?

I just really enjoy riding. It is almost like going on a ride at Disneyland or something. Probably the thing that I enjoy most about going on the Jeepney is people watching. I see a lot of interesting people on the jeepney. I have never really had a bad experience on the jeepney. I see a lot of people fighting off sleep on the jeepney. Their heads will nod over and suddenly they will wake up. That is always funny, and most of the passengers will watch and laugh at the rider who is nearly asleep. I have to admit, though. I have been that guy that was about to fall asleep myself a few times. 🙂

Good article, Jay. I enjoyed it.

Posted in

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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MaryJane Maglangit
2 years ago
Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
2 years ago

I have owned a car for most of my 25 years in the Philippines. But I ride Jeepney’s because in Olongapo the only place to park is to buy a parked car and have it towed. Jeepney’s or Trikes do a fine job.. I assume people might cheat. I’ve never seen it, and I have a Senior Citizen Card but never ask for a discount. In the 1970’s I learned to pass the fare forward, whereas some Kano’s think the money is for them. (LOL) All people ride Jeepney like as a kid in Boston on the MTA System all… Read more »

Andy Jon Williams
2 years ago

Great article and very much like my experiences on a jeepney , I used to really enjoy the Tricycle / Jeepney journeys however I am tall 6’4′ and recently (18 months ago) had a knee replacement surgery in the UK and since coming here to live 5 weeks ago have found that it is now very uncomfortable to ride jeepneys so instead I have to ride bus (still darn cheap at only 12 peso) can still ride tricycle but only backride is comfortable …

Steven Rood
Steven Rood
2 years ago

Folks,
Lucky for me — I’m short (5’4, or maybe 5’3 now in my late 60s!). Been riding jeepneys since 1981, though only recently started again after a period of having a job-related car and driver. Now that I’m retired, no car at all.
I liked the blog piece very much — nice and observant; really conveyed the experience.
I’ve seen female jeepney drivers twice — once up here in Manila, and once in Davao — both very recently. No female tricycle driver, but a couple of pedicab peddlers I’ve seen are female.

Jay
Jay
2 years ago
Reply to  Steven Rood

Hi Steve,

So female jeepney drivers do exist. Thanks for the information! I was wondering if any ladies had broken the gender barrier.

Peace

Jay

Jay
Jay
2 years ago

Hi Bob, Thanks for answering my questions so thoroughly! I am 6 feet even but I have short legs and a long upper body. Honesty for me the ride often is not physically comfortable due to the low ceilings on many of the jeepneys, but even with the ride not being physically comfortable I still love the ride for basically the same reasons you do which may be hard for some to understand and I find a little hard to explain. I have also found with the money that sometimes the other passengers don’t want to pass it to me… Read more »

papaduck
papaduck
2 years ago

We ride the jeepney or take a trike if we are just staying local. But if we go long distances we will take our car as it’s way more convenient. As far as passing the fare, i agree with Bob that they just don’t like to be bothered. When we get on a jeepney and only a couple of people are on they are usually sitting in the back. Most of the time they will not pay there fare until someone else get’s on that they can pass there fare to.

John Reyes
John Reyes
2 years ago

I agree with you both, Jay and Bob, Long live the jeepney! I’ve said it many times in the past and will say it again, in my mind the Philippines will never be the same without the Jeepney. The jeepney is such a cultural icon that it is hard to imagine a Philippines without it. In its roughly 73 years of existence, it has become an integral part of Philippine life, and a symbol of its people as much as the Volkswagen symbolized pre-World War 2 Germans. For the romantics, the nipa hut may be the only everlasting definition of… Read more »

Myles William Tobin
2 years ago

Great article and I have witnessed pretty much the same thing. My only problem with Jeepney riders is the same problem I experience back home on city busses. That the people, more often than not, will not move to the back, or front in the case of a jeepney. I, unfortunately, have arthritis in my back and knees so the people that won’t move are forcing me to sometimes try to fight my way to the front. Almost impossible. So, can’t ride them anymore.

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