Introducing: The Jeepney driver


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This time it is possible for me to share some information about the job as a Jeepney driver in Manila to you.

The Jeepney driver

The costs
Jeepney type near Tarlac The Jeepney driver is renting as a "freelance" rider a Jeepney for a daily rental fee from a licensed contractor. In Metro Manila, the rental fee per day currently (2016) is 600 pesos. The driver takes the car fully fueled to start when starting his shift and has to give the Jeepney end of the shift back with a completely refilled tank. The Jeepneys are often located in parking areas of large shopping Malls where anyway is a gas station nearby.

The daily cost for the driver are the rental fee and the cost for the fuel while the shift and the refill at the end. If the driver is able to ride three times the tour 'Alabang - Pasay - Alabang' per shift, he has to expect fuel cost by 600 - 650 PHP. Up to the price for diesel.

Additional expenses are made by the, I call them "Barker boys", who are trying to find on special breakpoints for each Jeepney as many passengers as possible by shouting repeatedly the particular route, which is a real help for many customers. Because often it is not easy, especially not at night time, to read the route on the small plates. For this service they receive 1 - 5 PHP by the driver.

The all-rounder: The driver
I once had the opportunity to be able to sit from start of the shift in the cab, next to the driver, until the turning point. And I had already given up after the second stop, to keep track what's going on in the back. The driver is running on a given route. Round trip. Like a bus. However, there are no fixed stops. He stops on request when a passenger is shouting "Para po" (Stop please) or by tapping a coin to the handrail or on a show of hands of waiting roadside passengers. The basic fare is determined by the LTFRB (Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board). The minimum fare is actually 7.00 PHP for a defined distance. However, the driver will increase this basic price in certain circumstances. For example, if a large item of luggage is carried and therefore another seat is blocked. Or even if the route of the passenger is longer then the distance for the basic fare.

Payment and change
At every stop, passengers can get on or off. Each new passenger has now to give, either indirectly through the hands of other passengers or directly, his money for the fare to the driver. A "Bayad po" let the driver know: There is money on the way, referred by target and any "extras". The driver will check in his mirror every new passenger, calculate the fare and how much change to return. For each passenger! At the same time he must pay attention to the traffic, select possible new passengers at the roadside and return change to the passenger compartment. As I said: I gave up already after the second stop to keep track!

Old style Jeepney The potential income is of course dependent on various factors: the line (route), whether day or night shift is selected, the personal commitment, the traffic and the personal driving style, since a fuel-efficient driving style till the end of the shift can easily save 50 - 100 PHP compared to other drivers.

Of course it is also important, to have a good record in the company and a good connection to the dispatcher. If he is dispatching a preferred driver on a daily shift, seven shifts a week and that driver will be able to earn an average of 500 PHP a day. Would be damn nice for the driver if he can drive seven days a week ... but this is seldom possible. The standard driver can expect to earn by 8.000 PHP a month. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

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