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On the issuance of provisional units for ‘modernised’ jeepneys

October 2019
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There seems to be a proliferation of various models of the so-called “modernized jeepneys”. They have been deployed along what the DOTr and LTFRB have tagged as “missionary routes”. The latter term though is confusing because this used to refer to areas that are not yet being served by public transportation, hence the “missionary” aspect of the route. The routes stated on the jeepneys are certainly new but they overlap with existing ones. Thus, the new vehicles are actually additional to the traffic already running along the roads used by the existing (old?) routes. The number of units are said to be “provisional” meaning these are trial numbers of these new vehicles and implying the route and service to be somewhat “experimental”. There can be two reasons here that are actually strongly related to each other: 1) the actual demand for the route is not known, and 2) the corresponding number of vehicles to serve the demand is also unknown. Unknown here likely means there has been little or no effort to determine the demand and number of vehicles to serve that demand. The DOTr and LTFRB arguably is unable to do these estimations or determinations because it simply does not have the capacity and capability to do so; relying on consultants to figure this out. That work though should be in a larger context of rationalizing public transport services. “Provisional” here may just mean “arbitrary” because of the number (say 20 or 30 units?) of units they approve for these new routes.

A ‘modernised’ jeepney with a capacity of 23 passengers. The vehicle is definitely larger than the conventional jeepneys and yet can only carry 23 seated passengers. That’s basically the number of seats for most “patok” jeepneys that are “sampuan” or 10 passengers on each bench plus 2 passengers and the driver in the front seats.

Modernized jeepney unloading passengers along the roadside

Rationalization should require not only the replacement of old jeepney units that seems to be the objective of the government’s modernization program. Rationalization also entails the determination and deployment of vehicles of suitable passenger capacities for the routes they are to serve. I have stated before that certain routes already require buses instead of jeepneys and that jeepneys should be serving feeder routes instead. Meanwhile, routes (even areas) currently having tricycles as the primary mode of transport would have to be served by jeepneys. Tricycles, after all, are more like taxis than regular public transportation. Such will also mean a reduction in the volumes of these vehicles and, if implemented and monitored strictly, may lead to an improvement in the quality of service of road public transport.

[Note: May I add that although I also use ‘jeepney’ in my articles, these vehicles should be called by their true names – ‘jitneys’. The term jeepney is actually a combination of the words Jeep (US military origins) and jitney (a public utility vehicle usually informal or paratransit offering low fares).]


3 Comments

  1. ronnielim99 says:

    To me they’re not modern enough, they don’t have electronic billboards. Our transit system will be modernized if routes have numbers and there are physically visible bus/Jeepney stops every so often on the roads.

    • d0ctrine says:

      Referring only to the vehicles themselves, electronic billboards are perhaps less of a concern for them to be considered ‘modernized’. The engine, fuel or battery, monitoring and fare collection system comes to mind. Hindi pa lahat naka-Beep card, for example.

      • D says:

        Speaking of contactless payment cards… this is another easy-to-foresee problem that I’m not sure the government is ready to address. The LRT/MRT “Beep” card from AF Payments is so far usable only from modern jeeps from Taguig Transport Service Coop, at least accdg to its website. The “Beep” (bagong jeep)-branded modern jeepneys are not affiliated with the “Beep” card… (talk about branding confusion). Not sure what payment card the “Beep” jeepneys use. The Yellowdot jeepneys use a card from PeraPay.
        There’s another PrimeTap card (from Villars?) used in other P2P buses and modern jeepney. There’s also supposed to be another system from I-Pay MYEG.

        It will be a mess if there’s no mandate from DOTR for these payment cards to be interoperable.

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