Jeepneys and their drivers
Jeepneys are the symbol of the Philippines transportation. At the origin there had been an American WW-II jeep left behind. Not only one but thousands. Filipinos are known to transform any scrap into something useful. So they did with the jeeps.
A jeepney has an official passenger capacity of 20. But what about the people on the roof? A friend who owns a jeepney on Camiguin island told us, that he makes the 64 km around the island once a day. When we wondered that 64x20 makes him only earn 1280 pesos (less fuel and so), he answered with a bright smile, that he does even not turn on the engine when he has less than 32 passengers.
So, jeepneys are usually crowded. As a tourist, you are often offered the seat(s) aside the driver. They give you more space for your legs. Otherwise, when you are behind, you will soon have a curved back and get some hits on your head, when the jeepney pumps into a hole.
Today jeepneys are more and more replaced by vans. These are Toyota or Mitsubishi minibuses. They may even have air condition. These vans are more expensive than the jeepneys (about 3 times the jeepneay fare).
Jeepneys are good for medium distance transportation. Either the tricycles do not go as far or they are too expensive. On the other hand, your destination might not be served by a bus line. The jeepney fares are fixed. When you get on the jeepney it costs PHP 2.00. Then every kilometer is billed PHP 1.00. To get off, make either a noise sounding "sssssss" or tap with a coin against the metal.
In and around Manila, also known as Metro Manila, new jeepney fares have been introduced by February 2, 2011. Jeepney fare in Metro Manila is now 8 pesos for the first four kilometers PHP 7.50 in the regions. However, the current PHP 1.40 per succeeding kilometer rate for Metro Manila and PHP 0.90 rate in the regions are not affected
If you are a group, you may consider to hire a jeepney for a day. The driver then puts a sign on his windshield saying "Family use" and you won't be stopped by other travelers. A jeepney private rental costs PHP 1500 to 2500 a day.
Jeepneys have no timetable, but the deserve fixed routes. The endpoints of this route is painted on the side. If you you are new to the region, it is rather difficult to know, whether your destination is on the route or not. Ask the driver whether he stops at your destination or not. And if not, ask him for what route you have to look for.
In and just around cities there is no real danger because speed is limited by traffic congestions. Overland you always encounter broken jeepneys. When it's only a flat tire, the passengers are lucky and wait. But sometimes, almost during night trips, there are serious accidents. Jeepneys drive on dark country roads with maybe one lamp that works. If the driver gets tired or has to much tuba or rum inside, the trip becomes life threatening.
We recommend to take the bus for longer distances or night trips.
The served route is painted on the side of the jeepney.
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