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TRANSPORTING MANILA: THE JEEPNEY AS A TRAJECTORY OF HUMAN MOBILITY Amparo Pamela Fabe Intro !

"t#on Lifes daily struggle can be framed in terms of mobility issues. The transportation options in Manila have opened up spaces that lend themselves to certain forms of mobility: bus, jeepney, bike, car. The humble Filipino jeepney affords one a good chance of having a nuanced reading of the transportation landscape. This daily mode of transportation can act both as a barrier and a link, literally and figuratively, to the faithful discharge of ones daily duties and responsibilities in the orkplace and in

school. This special mode of transportation has the capacity either to elongate or truncate the travel time and space of the harried residents of Metro Manila. The jeepney ride can be seen as a uni!ue service that can be bought and sold and hose e"change value goes beyond the designated arrivals at specific destinations. The jeepney ride also conveys the salient characteristics of #hilippine culture and values. This commodification of movement and the continuous and evolving series of privileging, conferring, crippling are produced and reproduced by the systemati$ed %&,''' jeepney route system in Metro Manila. The jeepney route franchises had been approved by the #hilippine Land Transportation Fare and (egulatory )oard *LTF()+. The LTF(), under the ,epartment of Transportation and -ommunication, has the mandate of promulgating, administering, enforcing, and monitoring compliance of policies, la s, and regulations of public land transportation services.

T$eoret#"al Per%pe"t#&e

This jeepney research reflects the critical tradition. The term critical as applied to sociological theory, pertains to the approaches linked to from the ork that has been derived

orks of Mar" and .ngels, from the Frankfurt /chool *in particular the

0nstitute for /ocial (esearch+ and from leftist sociology, spanning the vie s on feminism and post1modernism. The critical tradition can also be traced further back from both 2egel and 3ant. This special perspective also lays a strong emphasis on conducting a social in!uiry based on a broad and historical frame ork *Le ontin and Levins, %''4+.

0n a sense, Mar" and .ngels materialism can be seen as a human propensity to transform the motion

ay to link

ith the

orld through social labor, a specific event in

ith thinking and representation *5ork and Mancus, %''6+. Mediation, then,

in this manner is primarily through social labor and not through a relation by representation. The emphasis on the bodily representations of labor yields the fact that embodiment prefigures the consciousness hich is the emergent property of the

species1specific cognitive structure of historical human mind. The materialist e"pression of Mar" is more nuanced in terms of ho labor *5ork and Mancus, %''6+. he had conceptuali$ed human

The neo1Mar"ist perspective can be applied to the subtleties of the jeepney e"perience. The particular perspective reflects the Mar"ist theory of kno ledge. The materialist epistemology pertains to the recognition of the potential for the development of the apprehension of objects ends *Leiss, 7668+. ith close reference to particular social

Mar" e"plains the material relation bet een subject and object:

To be objective, natural and sensuous, and at the same time to have an object, nature and sense outside of oneself, or oneself to be object, nature and sense for a third party, is one and the same thing. 2unger is a natural need9 it therefore needs a human nature outside itself in order to satisfy itself to be stilled. 2unger is an ackno ledgement of the need of my body for an object e"isting outside it, necessary for its integration and to the e"pression of its essential being *764::77;177<+.

= combination of critical refle"ivity, upholding human agency and the concept of a material and ecological condition, and a scientific orldvie , sho ed the objective orld is at

character of social labor in a co1evolution of the dynamics of a corporeal the essence of the Mar"ist method *5ork and Mancus, %''6+.

Mar" *7:;6>7644+ stated:? 0t is not the consciousness of men that determines their being but on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness?. The conception of 3arl Mar" regarding the mode of production reflects a comple" e"change, a going on bet een the internal and e"ternal conceptions that manifests hat a society needs.

This perspective is indeed faithfully reflected in the jeepney e"perience. The jeepney ride provides a rich interplay bet een discourse and the built environment cogni$ant of the fact that each element recursively affects the other. @eo1Mar"ists

regarded internal labor markets as an effort by capitalists to control a volatile force.

ork

The jeepney e"perience can project a rich and te"tual perspective on daily life. This e"perience can simply be summari$ed into four factors: public versus privati$ed forms of mobility, the Label as ABndisputed 3ing of the (oad?, enjoying a sense of belonging and a sense of community and a site for the negotiation of spatiality.

T$eme% 'or Mob#l#t( A) P!bl#" &er%!% Pr#&at#*e Form% o' Mob#l#t( = jeepney is a public conveyance vehicle and a public form of mobility. = veritable conse!uence of riding a jeepney means spending a measured block of time and space ith other passengers. The measured block of time and space depends on

the distance bet een the point of origin and the desired destination and the speed of the jeepney. /ince it is a shared e"perience, the jeepney riders allot more time to reach their respective destinations. = jeepney operator invests a considerable amount to operate a jeepney unit. .ach jeepney route is covered by a government franchise that has been duly approved by the LTF(). This franchise re!uires the payment of fees and ta"es that accrue to the national and local government. = jeepney route franchise is a privilege, not a right. = proven violation of the conditions of the franchise such as the assurance of the safety and security of the passengers can mean a revocation of the franchise. .ach jeepney route franchise that is opened up is meant to increase the mobility of the members of society. =s the urban space e"pands, the national government directs that more roads are constructed and paved. This relentless paving of ne roads and small intersections

has led to the opening up of more jeepney franchise routes every year. The jeepney e"perience presents a chance to assess this mode of mobility and its ability to negotiate spatiality and social position. The public transportation franchise system assigns the specific franchise to a group of jeepney drivers in order to address the needs of those residents ho must move about the space. = car is simply a privati$ed form of mobility. 2aving ones o n car affords one the privacy, comfort and convenience of leaving ones home to set out on a designated destination. 2o ever, o ning a car necessitates a higher degree of personal investment and is considered as an e"pensive personal asset for most Filipinos.

B) T$e Label a% +Un #%p!te ,#n- o' t$e Roa . = jeepney ride presents a conflicting scenario of concessions and compromises. The jeepney is regarded as the ABndisputed 3ing of the (oad? in local parlance and other vehicles recogni$e this concept. 2ence, most of the jeepney drivers of the .. (odrigue$ to the =. )onifacio route conform to this common concept. Ceepney drivers of this route reinforce their personal and firm assertion by stopping in the middle of the street, thus causing delays due to traffic blocks. =ll other vehicles1trucks, buses, private cars and vans grind to a halt and ait patiently until the jeepney rumbles on to the ne"t stop. The drivers of other vehicles grant the jeepney this concession of being the Aking of the road?. .ven if the current jeepney franchise rules puts a premium on passenger safety, society, in general, has not set any high e"pectations for good behavior among the jeepney drivers. For e"ample, one jeepney driver does not believe nor practice the driving rules and regulations. 2e drives so fast and stops so suddenly that everyone is

thro n to ards his direction. 2e also cuts corners and hen another driver cuts in, he s ears unprintable ords. Denerally, he is impatient in driving. The jeepney drivers of the .. (odrigue$ to =. )onifacio route go on ithout a

sense of urgency to reach their respective destinations. The average speed is belo 7: kilometers per hour. This desire to go at ones o n space is in fact a personal assertion of a jeepney drivers sense of authority vis1E1vis the other drivers on the same road. The tensions arising from the open enmity bet een a jeepney driver and the private vehicle o ners ho are often in a hurry to get to their destinations is a

common situation. Moreover, one can also carefully sense the veiled friction bet een the passengers ho are in a hurry to get to ork and the driver ho seems to be in no hurry to get any here. This subtle friction becomes a daily point of conflict inside this public conveyance. -ompromises also characteri$e the social relationships surrounding the jeepney ride. There are unsettled and unspoken alliances bet een the drivers, passengers and jeepney operators to jointly oppose any fare hike sho ed some avenues for future cooperation and coordination.

C)

En/o(#n- a Sen%e o' Belon-#n- an a Sen%e o' Comm!n#t( The passengers of this jeepney route feel safe and secure in taking this ride

regularly. The jeepney drivers and operators have been attached to this route for more than %' years. The passengers ho ride in this jeepney route are usually ell1dressed

and elegant. The female passengers are in dresses. The male passengers are in their polo and formal pants and they ear mens cologne. The passengers look rela"ed, earing their atches, costume je elry and earing their

bored and sleepy. They are !uite open in

personal accessories. The high school students are comfortable in

favorite earphones and 0phones. The health

orkers use their cellular phones openly

during the duration of the jeepney ride. This confidence in the security of this public transport is palpable. 0t seems that there has been no instances of reported robberies of the jeepneys hich are plying this particular route. This jeepney route is also the hich are relatively

least accident prone. The main route has four traffic intersections

easy to navigate. /ince this particular jeepney route covers primarily a residential area and a school area, there had been less traffic reports or traffic register of instances of beating the red light among the drivers of this same route, The passengers also kno the area ell since there as no one ho asked for

specific directions to go to a particular street or area. This e"ceptional familiarity ith the place means that almost all of the jeepney passengers either live or immediate surroundings. The drivers are really concerned regarding the physical safety of their passengers. Fne driver had installed plastic curtains at the indo s that can be easily unfurled ork in the

henever it rains. 2e also had curtains on the driver side and on the passenger side in front of the jeepney to protect his passengers from the rain. 2e also had a movable stool hich can be placed at the back for passengers ho are in a hurry to ride even if the jeepney is full of passengers. 2e also placed a rubber mat on the e"it step in order to safeguard possible slipping driver ensured that he has ne hen the passenger alights from the jeepney. =nother green upholstery to make his jeepney appear more

pleasant, more bright and more presentable for his passengers. The passengers are also concerned for the passengers elfare of their fello passengers. The

ould tell the driver, AMama, may sasakay po, if they see a potential

passenger along the road.

0)

A %#te 'or t$e ne-ot#at#on o' %pat#al#t( = jeepney ride reflects a constant, continuous and serious negotiation of public

space. = space that one passenger cannot occupy in a jeepney means a space denied for him>her. Ghen one hails do n a jeepney, it reflects a personal and private demand for space. 0t is rare for passengers to ride the jeepney standing up at the e"it step. = tight space inside a jeepney means a short e"perience of ma"imum discomfort as one s!uee$es into a limited space and is forced to lean heavily on both knees to preserve ones precarious balance. Moreover, a jeepney full of passengers faithfully reflects the absence of needed space for the passengers. 0n contrast, a jeepney ithout passengers means a huge span of uncollected space. The space is sold for the same price: a fat passenger pays the same fare as a skinny one. #ricing of space is sociali$ed for t o special types of passenger: the elderly and the student. The remaining passengers under these t o types are doomed to subsidi$e the fares of the rest. The jeepneys are spacious, thus, enabling the passengers to easily move in and move out of the vehicle. The passengers usually move from an area of hot, bright sunlight to an area from a here there is cool air. Ghenever it rains, the passengers move ho do not fall

et area *the end of the jeepney+ to the interior part of the jeepney. =s the

jeepney travels to ards its final destination, the passengers constantly shift *Aumuurong?+ to ards the end of the jeepney from here they can conveniently alight later on. The incoming passengers constantly negotiate for more space from the other e"isting passengers. Gords such as Apaki1urong po? or Apaki1usog naman po? are heard all the time.

Con"l!%#on The jeepney opens up a distinct ride e"perience hich offers an interesting peek on the form of mobility, label as Aundisputed king of the road?, enjoying a sense of community, and orchestration of space by its passengers. The continuous shifting of positions ithin a jeepney reflects the ongoing negotiations of space that mirrors the

combined demands for convenience and comfort. =s such a simple jeepney ride is informed by the pushes and pulls to ards the uncomfortable and the uncomfortable, the vacuous and the lack of space, the discovery of cultural values and the lack of it. The #hilippine jeepney transport system presents a form of unfettered mobility hich

local citi$ens regard as an inalienable right. The space1occupying passengers inevitably fro n upon any unto ard disruptions in mobility such as a traffic gridlock, floods and typhoons and traffic accidents.

(eferences: Leis, G. *7648+. The Domination of Nature. )oston: )eacon #ress. Mar", 3arl. *7644+. A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Mosco : #rogress #ublishers. Mar", 3. *764:+. A.conomic and #hilosophical Manuscripts of 7:88.? #. <<17%; in The Mar" .ngels (eader, %nd edition, edited by (. -. Tucker. @e 5ork: G.G. @orton and -ompany. 5ork, (ichard and #hilip Mancus. *%''6+. A-ritical 2uman .cology: 2istorical

Materialism and @atural La s,? Sociological Theory, %4, %:7%%..