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How to ride a jeepney

These vehicles are, by far, one of the most quirkily beautiful public transports I’ve ever been on. We’ve been on jeepney rides in Cebu City, and without Arthur’s help I most likely would have not known what to do. For anybody who is curious about how to ride a jeepney, here is a quick “How To”.

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Jeepneys are the quintessential public transports in the Philippines. They convey people, and sometimes goods, all over the archipelago. These vehicles are “pimped up” World War 2 leftovers of US military jeeps. They come in the most colourful varieties, each Jeepney looking different from the others. They are decorated with lights, stickers, graffiti; and usually have religious symbols, like the crucifix, or little statues of the Virgin Mary, around the driver’s seat.

Jeepneys have usually a seat for two at the front and two long seats at the back. It’s not uncommon to see Jeepneys overcrowded to the seams, sometimes with people sitting up on the roof. This happens a lot when it is rush hour.

Here’s how to ride a commuting adventure that is the Jeepney:

  1. Every Jeepney has its own designated route so just stand at the street along that designated route. In big cities, there are designated Jeepney stops, but in practice, the drivers just stop wherever the passengers are. Outside of big cities, there are no such things as Jeepney stops.
  2. When you see the Jeepney, flag it down with your hand.
  3. Jump quickly inside, the Jeepney doesn’t stop for long.
  4. If the driver has a helper (called conductor) who is standing outside at the back of the Jeepney, give the fare to him. Otherwise, give the money to the passenger next to you, who, in turn, will pass it to the next passenger until it reaches the driver. If the driver needs to give the change back, it will be handed from the front, passenger by passenger, until it reaches you.
  5. Enjoy the ride! Watch for your belongings though.
  6. When you reach your destination, you can either make a loud kissing sound, or knock on the Jeepney’s ceiling or handrail so the driver will stop. Again, no stop sign, you can just get out anywhere you want.

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17 comments

  1. Usually jeepneys are already naturally air conditioned, just stick your face on the window ha ha..but it really feels good when you are sitting next to somebody who is using paypay 🙂 relaxing!

        1. I guess usually in the north we use “para manong””para mama” or “sa tabi lang po” just when you wanted to get out. In some cases when we are so familiar with the driver, we jokingly say “paradise” 🙂

          And always remember to hold onto the railing like or handle just above the head provided in most jeepneys just when you enter or when getting down to not lose balance 🙂 since some jeepneys doen’t wait till their passenger is seated before moving.—and be kind to other passengers also, keep the armpit dry or use some deodorant if needed 🙂

          1. Deodorant for all….and for ladies, please tie your hair while riding the jeep.. 😀 I had experienced several times having my face covered by a lady’s hair…Well, it smelled good but tickling and annoying…hahahahahha

          2. 🙂 Talking about deodorant, I’ve noticed that there is far less “funky” odor in public transports than in Europe. And considering the heat I think that’s interesting. I guess the Filipinos body is perfectly equipped for tropical climate.
            But for me, my deodorant is always with me. I need to be fair to the other passengers. 🙂

          1. Sometimes in the bus I suddenly hear a silent and strange sound, assuming somebody just sneezed or so, and when the bus driver stops I realize that it was a passenger’s sign to stop the bus. It impresses me how the bus driver is able to hear those sounds while music is playing in the background.

    1. Turns out I hear the word for the first time just now. Here in Cebu they usually just make the kiss or “pssst” sound. Thanks Kathy for teaching me that there is in fact a proper word to use for stopping the jeepney. I’m always learning something new.

      1. Oh I see, I find that odd. I’ve never been to the South (Visayas, Mindanao) yet though. But in Manila and other Tagalog speaking places I’ve been we would usually say “para po” “tabi lang po” In Ilocandia (Baguio City) we would say “para” or “manong para”. I personally don’t like doing the psst or kiss sound, feels so rude and perhaps unladylike haha. I’d rather do the knocking or the verbal stopping 🙂

        1. Yes…”Para” is so Tagalogish kind of verbally asking the driver to stop. In Cebu, the “lugar lang” and the more masculine version of whistling/loud smacking sound is more preferred.

    1. It might be the most simplest thing for locals to catch a ride on a jeepney, but newbies like me are confronted with an adventurous task.

      When we rode the jeepney in Cebu City I was sitting in there, pretending like it’s totally normal for me and I’m just one of the locals…but secretly I was thinking “Wow, this is so awesome!” 🙂 (And when I hit my head on the jeepney’s sealing while entering, I just played it off cool.) 🙂

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