Sunday, 8 February 2015

Ride a jeepney and tell the driver how his driving is

I just returned from Cebu in Philippines and if you ask me what the most memorable thing was during the whole trip, I would proudly say a “jeepney”. Jeepneys are colourful, spacious, available 24 hours and one of the most widely used public transports in Cebu.

It is an elongated form of a jeep – modified and stretched to adjust at least 10 people comfortably in one row. Each of the jeepneys plying on a route is designated a route number, displayed clearly along with the destinations on its side.

Another good thing about a jeepney is, you need not hurry and jostle with fellow passengers for a seat. People stand in queue at the stops and get inside a jeepney on first come first serve basis. I saw people doing the same while waiting for taxis in front of shopping malls. I wish it happens in Nepal too. Only the public transport users know the agony in Nepal. You need to be extra strong to sneak inside a micro-bus or a tempo. And if it’s during the office hours, it’s scuffle time!

Jeepneys are considered to be pride of Philippines. To make sure we experience the ride, the summit organisers (I was in Cebu for the Global Voices Citizen Media Summit) arranged jeepneys to transfer us from our hotel to the summit venue. And pleasant it was!

We took to jeepneys few more times and every time we found the people smiling at us. They helped us with our destinations and passed the coins to the fare collector. I never saw any jeepney being overcrowded. Not a single passenger more than the seat capacity!

The best thing that I liked was a message on the jeepney, “How’s my driving” with a telephone number. That should be the spirit of every public transport driver!

Don’t forget to ride a jeepney if you are in the Philippines.