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Iconic jeepneys, ‘pasaway’ drivers

/ 12:12 AM January 12, 2017

Allow us to comment on Julie Po’s letter, “Sad plan to kill cultural icon” (Opinion, 1/9/16), where she decried: “If the issue is traffic, why then is there so much traffic on Edsa even when jeeps are not allowed there? If the issue is ‘discipline,’ then that goes for all drivers, pedestrians and traffic implementers.”

First of all, it’s true—jeepneys are not allowed on Edsa, and yet traffic is still intractable. Alas, their “big cousins” (buses) are just as “pasaway” on Edsa. The thing is, jeepneys also clog up almost every secondary route they ply, especially at corners where they cross Edsa. Traffic volume increases on Edsa as more cars avoid going where jeepneys rule the roost.

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Secondly, jeepney drivers in Metro Manila are really a hopelessly undisciplined, wild bunch. They behave like the roads are made for them and everyone else must yield to their pernicious habit of: (1) stopping in the middle of the road to load or unload passengers; (2) lingering at corners everywhere under huge signs that read: “Walang sakayan dito”; (3) counterflowing and never deigning to fall in line; 4) not turning on their headlights at night and putting pedestrians and other motorists at risk; (5) racing against each other; (6) overtaking other vehicles only to suddenly pull over in front of them; (7) giving the dirty finger to anyone who dares to tell them to obey traffic rules. The list could go on ad nauseam.

True, too, that not a few private motorists themselves have become undisciplined. But what can anyone expect? If traffic enforcers allow jeepney drivers to do as they please, look the other way and continue to receive payolas from their “pasaway” operators, chaos prevails. In the mad rush to get to work or meet appointments on time, what private motorists would suffer the frustration of being stuck on the road all day and seeing violators zooming past them with impunity?

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The quondam “Hotdog” band used to pay homage to those Jurassic contraptions with their “Manila” song that quickly became the national anthem for jeepney drivers: “Mga jeepney mo’y nagliliparan” or some crazy lyrics to that effect! That, by any metric, was “iconic” reckless imprudence extolled.

“Lipad” has since become a motto akin to “Ano man ang ganda mo, driver lang ang katapat mo,” as Po put it!

CARMELA N. NOBLEJAS, [email protected]

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TAGS: jeep, jeepney, letter, Letter to the Editor, opinion, Transportation
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