Jeepney, no frills

Jeepney, no frills

 

Hardly full yet!

Hardly full yet!

            The jeepney is an icon of the Philippines, featured on postcards and posters.  Jeepneys carry about 20 passengers on two long benches running the length of the back.  They were more colorful 20 years ago but now rarely sport the horses on the hood so common in the 1980s – like any hood ornament, the horses are too easily stolen.  The jeepney is still plenty colorful though, as well as noisy and smelly and fun, if you’re in the right mood.

The driver is also conductor, taking fares and handing back change.  The fare is passed forward from passenger to passenger – “Bayad po” means “paying, sir” – with information about how many and how far.  The driver takes the money, makes change and passes it back from hand to hand until it reaches the person paying.

So the simple act of paying a fare becomes a community affair, an act of participation and of trust.

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