Cebu needs modern transport system
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-