Jeepneys. Love them or hate them, it looks like they're here to stay--at least for the foreseeable future. Problem is, a good lot of them are old, smoke-belching and hazardous rust buckets with undisciplined drivers who couldn't care less about public safety behind the wheel. But they're cheap and get the job done. You could say that things are a bit complicated when it comes to Filipinos and the jeepney. But what if we told you that things could get a lot simpler and a whole lot cleaner?
The Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines gave us a sneak peek at three brand-new prototype jeepneys, which could one day hopefully replace the mobile smoke factories littering our streets today. The three prototypes--two electric jeepneys and one Euro 2-compliant diesel model--can seat 20 and 26 passengers, respectively, and feature side entrances for easy ingress and egress for passengers. The two electric models will run on 30kW AC motors, and all three will be equipped with GPS navigation and an automated fare collection system.
This modernization program, supported by the transportation umbrella group 1-UTAK party list and 1-TEAM (Transportation Equipment Aggregator and Management), is looking to eventually replace around 500 worn-out traditional jeepneys with the above-mentioned prototypes. However, the new jeeps, which cost anywhere from P1.2 million to P1.6 million per unit, are certainly much pricier than their dilapidated counterparts.
In addition to the new jeeps, 1-TEAM has also set up a driver's academy to go along with the jeepney modernization initiative. The driver's academy, aside from teaching would-be jeepney drivers the basics of being behind the wheel, will put emphasis on obeying traffic rules as well as values formation. It's a simple concept which, if implemented effectively, could result in safer motoring for everyone. Can you imagine our roads with law-abiding jeepneys?
If this jeepney modernization program gains some traction, it could be the perfect start to a general overhaul of our messed-up public transportation system. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
Photos by Drei Laurel