Regardless of the positive and negative, public utility jeepneys rules the road of the Filipino masses. It is hard for drivers to make a living because the fuel is expensive. I can understand why they need to make a quota by making sure the seats are full to the maximum capacity of the vehicle before hitting the road or stopping by stopping at each corner to get the empty seats occupied.
The Filipino commuters endures this because it's still the best way to get anywhere in the city and it's the most cheapest public transportation fare. For jeepney drivers to operate, they need help from the barkers. These barkers stationed themselves at the designated areas to call passengers and making sure the jeepneys are occupied to the max.
But since anyone can be a barker, you can't be assured what kind of behavior these barkers have. One time last March 28, I was leaving Robinson's Place Manila and will take a ride home along Pedro Gil street. As expected, passenger jeepneys are in line waiting for the first jeepney in front to fill up. A barker was present to organize the passengers to make sure each one is seated and no space will be left unoccupied.
Most of the time, the passengers don't behaved accordingly when each passenger enters the vehicle and looks for a vacant seat. One passenger, a young girl, was using her phone while waiting for the vehicle to be on its way. She was not adjusting her area for another passenger to take a seat so the barker embarrassed her saying, Cellphone kasi ng cellphone kaya di makaupo iba. Kukunin ko yang cellphone mo (You keep using your phone and not minding the other passengers who are also taking a seat. I will grab that phone). For me, it was enough that the passenger was taught a lesson. But the female passenger probably didn't take it seriously so it may have got the barker mad.
The passenger made her way for other passengers to sit so the driver, an old man, started driving the vehicle. Not far from where we left, the cowardly barker rushed to the moving jeepney and slammed the part where the female passenger was seated. The mother of the girl pulled her daughter and shouted back at the coward barker. Since the side of the vehicle is exposed along with the back of the passengers exposed to any danger that may happen along the way. The worst part was the old man driver didn't do anything to protect the passengers as if nothing happened. Possible the driver was deaf since it is not the first time I encountered a driver who can't hear. If the coward didn't make that move, it would have been fine but since he threatened to get the phone from the girl, I am not sure if barkers are reliable.
During the Electronic Vehicle Summit held earlier during the month, the Electronic Vehicle Association of The Phils. or E.V.A.P., unveiled the next E-Jeepney prototype. The prototype was conceptualized by EVAP with the suggestions made by jeepney operators.
The prototype e-jeepney has one entrance near the driver seat(right side) and will only take the ride unless the passenger uses the smart card to tap his/her fare. Also, there will be designated loading and unloading areas/terminal for the e-jeepney so you won't need help from barkers to get passengers.
I am in support of the e-jeepney to make public transportation more presentable and professional. It will also help improve the lifestyle of the PUJ drivers and improve the system from commission basis to salary-based.
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