Cebu needs mod­ern trans­port sys­tem

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Wheels - Atty. Jerome G. Neri

IHAD my first jeep­ney ride in 1982. This was when I was in high school. At that time, most of the jeep­neys were Toy­ota Ta­ma­raws con­verted into jeep­neys. They were rather new as th­ese were 1980 model Ta­ma­raws.

Traf­fic was not bad at all, such that one of the ways we amused our­selves was to go for a “joyride” where we would take a jeep­ney from school (UP Cebu), ride around its whole route, and dis­em­bark in front of the school. It would take a lit­tle less than an hour for a whole round trip along the Lahug to Car­bon route. To­day, such a ride can eas­ily take triple the time.

To­wards the end of high school and the end of my jeep­ney rid­ing life, the jeep­neys started to be­come big­ger. The new ones were based on the Ford Fiera diesel. But dur­ing the mid to late 80s, the Philip­pine car in­dus­try was in a cri­sis.

It was only in 1990 that the car in­dus­try came back to life. Thus, af­ter the Ford Fiera jeep­neys, there were no more new jeep­neys. What hap­pened was jeep­neys were as­sem­bled from sur­plus/sec­ond hand parts from Ja­pan. An en­gine was mounted to a chas­sis and a jeep­ney body built around it by back­yard me­chan­ics and welders with the com­plete ab­sence of au­to­mo­tive en­gi­neers. The chas­sis used was that from a truck, and so our jeep­neys got even big­ger.

To­wards the late 1990s up to to­day, a lot of used Suzuki Su­per Carry mini pick­ups have been im­ported to Cebu, th­ese ve­hi­cles are com­monly known lo­cally as mul­ti­cabs. Th­ese small 600cc pow­ered pick­ups have also been con­verted into jeep­neys. Our ge­nius back­yard me­chan­ics and welders length­ened the chas­sis and built a jeep­ney cab around it. So to­day, we have two kinds of jeep­neys ply­ing Cebu: the truck-based chas­sis jeep­ney and the mul­ti­cab­based chas­sis jeep­ney.

We are in the 21st Cen­tury and the last time I saw a brand new jeep­ney was in 1984. Our whole mass trans­port sys­tem is mainly jeep­neys made by back­yard me­chan­ics and welders. It is such a sad state. The time has come that we move on to bet­ter, safer and greener mass trans­porta­tion sys­tem, some­thing that will work and will ben­e­fit the rid­ing pub­lic as a whole.

What is be­ing thrown at us in Cebu by the Na-

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