History of the Philippine Jeepney

Jeepneys are a popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. They were
originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II and are well known for
their flamboyant decoration and crowded seating.

As American troops began to leave the Philippines at the end of World War II, hundreds of
surplus jeeps were sold or given to local Filipinos. Locals stripped down the jeeps to accommodate several
passengers, added metal roofs for shade, and decorated the vehicles with vibrant colors and bright chrome hood
ornaments.

The jeepney rapidly emerged as a popular and creative way to re-establish inexpensive
public transportation, which had been virtually destroyed during World War II. Recognizing
the wide-spread use of these vehicles, the Philippine government began to place restrictions
on their use. Drivers now must have specialized licenses, regular routes, and reasonably
fixed fares.

Although the original jeepneys were simply refurbished military jeeps, modern jeepneys are
now produced by independently owned factories within the Philippines. In the central
Philippine island of Cebu, the bulk of jeepneys are built using second-hand Japanese trucks,
originally intended for hauling cargo rather than passengers. These are euphemistically
known as "surplus" trucks.

Etymology

The word jeepney is usually believed to come from the words "jeep" and "knee" because of the crowded seating,
passengers must sit knee to knee. Hence, the word jeepney. The word jeepney is also commonly believed to be a
portmanteau of "jeep" and "jitney"