I’ve rode jeepneys in Bacolod since I was in high school. I remember the first time my mom let me and the sense of independence I felt back then. For the most part it was great, but as the years went by I started to notice everything that was good and bad about riding a jeepney. It reached to the point that I thought, maybe this was just a Bacolod thing and that it’s different in Manila and Cebu. But now that I’ve been working in Cebu for the past 2 years now, I’ve realized that I was actually right, it is different in Bacolod… somewhat.
I’m not saying there aren’t any similarities, there are actually. If you have lived in the two cities like me and go through everyday travel by riding jeepneys, you’d eventually notice the resemblance from the way drivers act and pickup passengers to how they obey traffic rules. And from my experience, sad to say they’re mostly negative. Here is my comparison of the jeepneys in Bacolod and Cebu.
What I really hate about some of the jeepneys in Bacolod is the amount of smog release to the air. It’s so black that if you happen to inhale it, you’ll start coughing like crazy. Jeepneys also act like as if they’re mini buses – meaning that they won’t move until they are full. This can be annoying especially if you are trying to get to class or work early in the morning. They have this gimmick of playing with the pedal and move the jeepney a few feet forward just to trick passengers into thinking that it’s about to leave. News flash! Everybody knows you’re faking it so why do you even bother.
Jeepneys also tend to stop and wait.. A LOT! They will stop in front of schools, stores, corners, and malls even though no one’s flagging them down. That’s why even though Bacolod is smaller than Cebu, it can take some time just to get from Point A to Point B.
Some drivers can be rude as fck. If you’re not one who likes to argue, then you’re out of luck if you’re going to debate with the driver. This can range from a number of reasons, from paying the fare to asking them to go already or else you’ll be late. They won’t back down and the argument can run for minutes. Another thing you’ll notice is their habit of catcalling. Most of them do this whenever a pretty girl walks by, which is very unprofessional and gross since the women are usually a lot younger.
Others disregard proper hygiene and will stink so bad, it’s as if they haven’t taken a bath in days. I understand that deodorants can be expensive, but they’re commodities! If you plan on driving people around the city, then think about your smell. There are also those who drive without a shirt on, like wtf. You’re not at home and no one likes to see you naked, more so of you sweating.
Although there is a silver lining, what I like about Bacolod drivers is that some can be very chatty especially if you’re at the front seat. They usually talk about politics and share their insights on different matters. I find that entertaining and helps pass the time.
In Cebu, instead of jeepneys looking for passengers, it’s the passengers who are always chasing after jeepneys. It’s because there’s just too many people in the city and in peak hours the situation can be a lot worse. Traffic can be so heavy that it can literally take an hour or more just to get home. With jeepneys so full, kabit or kapyot has become a habit in Cebu. People would rather hold on to the back and disregard safety just to catch a ride.
The drivers are more restrained when it comes to talking back to passengers. However, an attitude that I dislike from some of them is their insensitivity. On a packed jeepney, they’ll keep insisting passengers to move even though there aren’t anymore seats. How many times have I seen people get on the jeepney, only to get back down because of that. The saddest ones are those who do enter, act like they can sit, but in reality are just sitting on air with an inch of their ass on the edge of the seat.
Just because the jeepney’s capacity is 18 doesn’t mean you can always fit that number of people every time. People don’t have the same set of butt cheeks and aren’t always of the same size. I’m not fat-shaming anyone. It’s just that if a larger person gets in, it only makes sense that drivers or conductors should try to properly calculate how much space is really left instead of relying on their ‘fixed number’.
Although riding a jeepney can be stressful, it’s still the most popular and practical way to get around cities. I just wish that they would treat their passengers better and that it’s not always about the profit.
The upcoming e-jeepneys show a lot of promise so I hope that they can improve not only the travel experience, but also help keep the environment clean.