Is the end really nearing for the Philippines’ iconic jeepney? If the government’s modernization program goes their way, it could be.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has said that it will have 200 modern jeepneys at Manila’s Quirino Grandstand that are ready for dispatching to government-approved jeepney operators today.
“It’s about time that the public is provided with not just a safe but also a comfortable and pleasing form of public transportation,” DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said in a statement in Filipino.
“If you were to pick, what would you rather ride: a rickety jeepney that emits black smoke or a modern jeep where you can sit comfortably and you’re sure will bring you to your destination safely and won’t add to pollution?”
Based on the photos released by the DOTr, the jeepneys indeed look very modern but are nothing like the colorful pop art vehicles that have been on the streets since at least the 1950s.
Some units boast of high-tech features like WiFi, GPS, CCTV, a dash cam, speed limiter, and even an automatic fare collection system.
The DOTr’s statement also said that the new jeepneys can carry anywhere from 9 – 22 passengers, depending on the unit and will have higher ceilings fit for standing passengers. Some units are also said to have features for people with disability.
Another major difference the new jeepneys have with standard ones is that the doors are at the sides and not the rear of the vehicle. They’re also said to be more environmentally friendly and will either have a Euro-4 compliant emission system or an electric-powered motor.
Even with all these seemingly beneficial features, though, many jeepney drivers are still against the modernization plan.
Although the government has said that it will provide financial schemes for drivers to help them pay for the new vehicles, many jeepney drivers still think it would be too much for them to afford.
This has led to a number of transportation strikes in the past year that often forced the government to suspend classes in schools.
What do you think of the new jeepneys? Are you for modernization or not? Let us know in the comments section or tweet us @CoconutsManila.
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