We’ve always heard that the government is regulating the modernization of public transport in the country and one of the many ways to accomplished it is by phasing out the old and traditional jeepneys. The ‘Kings of the Road!’
Jeepney drivers and operators are afraid that the time is nearing soon. They felt that it’s coincidental that the quarantine guidelines are not in favor to them.
Because of COVID-19, the government had to implement and enforce quarantine guidelines to make sure that the people are safe and protected from the disease. One of sectors that were forced to shutdown was the public transportation. Almost 300,000 jeepney drivers in NCR were affected when the access to public transportation was suspended during the outbreak. Without any source of income, jeepney drivers had no means to feed their families.
After the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) was lifted, we have transitioned to a new phase – the general community quarantine (GCQ). But this transition had little or no effect to the plight of the jeepney drivers and operators.
Under the guidelines of GCQ, the traditional jeepneys are still not allowed to operate during this period. Only the modern type of jeepneys will be given the permit to operate. Unfortunately for us commuters, we will not be seeing the ‘kings of the road’ traversing the streets of Metro Manila under GCQ.
But according to Department of Transportation (DOTr) Senior Consultant Engr. Albert Suansing, they are looking to a possibility where traditional jeepneys can operate in areas where modern jeeps are not accessible and available.
So there is still hope for the low-income wage earners like the jeepney drivers. But, and only, if their areas don’t have their modern counterparts yet.
Until then, they have to find alternative means to support their families. Or just like Mang Eddie, he will just have to bring his family in their province if he can’t drive his jeep back on the streets again.