Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Philippine Jeepneys

Here is a quick ode to the Jeepneys of the Philippines. I love this transportation. For those who don't know the story, a quick explanations follows.

Until recent years, the Philippines had more than a few American military bases, and with those bases came the jeeps. A lot of jeeps.

They began converting the old jeeps into a more convenient form by cutting the jeeps in half and extending the wheelbase. These days though, there is a Jeepney factory that turns out scores of brand new ones.

So, everywhere you go in the Philippines - whether you want to get around Manila, or head to the next village in the mountains - you can take a Jeepney. All are privately owned, and most operate on routes that are painted right onto the front and sides.

No need to wait for the bus at a bus stop. You can flag down a Jeepney anywhere on the road. It kind of feels like hitchhiking, except you only need to wait a minute for a ride. When you get off, you just hand the driver your pesos (make sure you have the right change though...). There are even local Jeepney unions that set the prices, so no one gets ripped off. You can check the price in the cab and pay accordingly.

This is the interior of my Aunt Linda's older brother's Jeepney. His Jeepney is the one in the second picture. Check him out in the mirrors up top.

He lives up above San Fernando in the hills and everytime he wants to head into the city, or, head back up to his house, he first goes to a designated waiting area. There he waits until the jeepney fills up, or until he's gotta go. It's a sweet system to pay for your gas and subsidize car payments. In fact, most people probably could not afford to have a vehicle if it wasn't for this system.

The ultimate in car pooling.

I would like to propose that we implement a similar system in Canada.

Imagine that you want to head into Lethbridge from Coaldale. So, first you head over to some parking lot to wait for some passengers. Occupants pay up in Lethbridge. At least we could cover our gas. Environmentally responsible, and a great way to meet new people!

Anyone have any jeepney pics? Please email them to me and I will post them.


marc said...

Great idea for an indy mass transit revolution. I bet I could get one going from Chilliwack to Vancouver.

Though if you're going to hang out in a Coaldale parking lot you'd better watch out for the teenagers doing burnouts in their pickup trucks.

Oh, and on your way from Coaldale to Lethbridge take a moment to glance out your window to the right. See the set of 12 hopperbottom grainbins about halfway along? The ones with the decals that say Wheatland Bins?
I made those decals!

Sweet pics once again man.

Aaron Franz said...

Yeah, I was thinking about the parking lot opposite "Stop 'n Go", but I think it's proximity to the local junior high school may be a problem.

It wouldn't be cool fending off those little moustached bandits begging you to run across the street and by them cigarettes.

That would really make it difficult to keep a clear vision of the utopia we're trying to create here. You know, maintian the ideals of the revolution (not to mention cramp our style).

Thomas Dyck said...

Nice jeeps bro. We'll have to set up a skype to talk about more transit ideas.