The Jeepney Love Affair

Philippines Jeepney, culture, Manila, Cebu
Jeepney driving through the streets of The Philippines

Upon arrival to The Philippines, you will quickly notice that the primary form of public transport looks a little different to what you are used to. These small bus like vehicles which you will no doubt come across are known as the Jeepney.

Their unique paint scheme and flamboyant accessories would make someone start to wondering how these became part of the Philippine culture? What caused Filipinos to begin to modify these vehicles and use them as public transport?

The Jeepneys were made from the US military jeeps, left over from the Second World War. The Americans had been using the jeeps during the several years The Philippines had been occupied by the Japanese. After the war, there were tens of thousands of jeeps littered across The Philippines. Once the time came for the Americans to leave, they would either sell or give the jeeps to the Filipinos.

After the Filipinos had attained the jeeps, they stripped them down and then added more seats to increase the number of individuals it was able to accommodate. Due to their wide spread use a need for a roof over the jeepneys became necessary to operate in the harsh weather conditions. The need to provide comfort for the passengers pushed the jeepney owners to make roofs a standard feature on jeepneys.

In addition to these changes, some decorations were added to make it more attractive and appealing to the potential passengers. Ornaments and bright colors were used to decorate the Jeepney in order to attract more customers.

The above changes made to the jeeps to convert them to the Jeepney were preparatory steps to have them in public transport service. There was a need to re-establish a public transport system that would no longer be expensive as the previous public transport system which was in place before it had been destroyed during the Second World War.

The rate at which the use of Jeepneys in the public transport sector kept on increasing as time went by. When the government of Philippine realised this, they enacted some regulations to guide the operation of the Jeepney. Those people who were driving Jeepney were now required to have licenses to operate on public roads. Apart from licenses, the drivers were also designated regular routes and established fixed prices for transporting people along these routes.

There is no doubt that a time came when there were no more jeeps to be converted to the Jeepney. To continue supplying the Jeepney, factories were set up to produce Jeepneys from scratch. It is now still possible for a person to get a new Jeepney from these factories. This also ensured a continued use and expansion of the use of Jeepneys.

Lastly you may be interested in where the term Jeepney actually came from. Well, Jeepney is a combination of two words namely jeep and knee. The word jeep was used because a Jeepney came into existence because of refurbishment of the jeeps. The knee part results from the crowded seating in which an individual will be forced to sit knee to knee.

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