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Jeepney Chronicles: Appreciating Short Commutes

Jeepney Chronicles: Appreciating Short Commutes

Photo | Mouline Sagun

Transportation has been part of our everyday lives. It is safe to say that majority, if not all, experienced commuting at one point. We commute to and from school, work, shop for groceries, and even travel for leisure.

I am one of those who benefit from public transportation. Jeepneys, in particular, have always been my means of commuting within the metro. I relatively have a shorter travel time than most. It is because my location is accessible to other cities in Metro Manila. Apparently, one of the perks of residing in Sta. Mesa.

With this said, it doesn’t take much of my time whenever I commute either to school or for a quick run from a local store. It just usually takes between 10 to 30 minutes maximum for me. Nonetheless, this short duration gives me ample time to appreciate every commute. Every single jeepney I ride is a new experience. New surroundings, new faces.

Photo | Mouline Sagun

The Art of Observation

Photo | Mouline Sagun

Given my timid nature, I always rely on observing those around me. This comes in handy when I’m with fellow commuters I’m sharing a ride. I got to observe their faces, clothes, and gestures. Are they a student? An employee?

I also contemplate that although other jeepney-goers I’m with are on the same jeepney, we are not in the same boat. We all have different circumstances. Someone just got out of a relationship, while someone will celebrate their upcoming anniversary. Others will start their new job, as others are already in their retirement years. Or even somebody excited to go home with their family awaiting, whereas somebody will be welcomed by an empty home.

Expectation VS. Reality in commuting

Photo | Mouline Sagun

Regardless if commuting is just a breeze for others like me, it doesn’t remove the fact that there is an ongoing transportation crisis in the country. Increase in fares that commuters can no longer shoulder. Jeepney drivers demanding fare hikes due to oil price surges. Heavy traffics impedes productivity and quality of time.

The transportation crisis that we experience isn’t just costly and time-consuming but is also draining. In an article published, it cited a 2022 report that revealed Philippine workers are the most stressed in Southeast Asia. The transport crisis is the reason why Filipino workers are physically and mentally exhausted, aside from labor issues and slow pandemic recovery.

Photo | Mouline Sagun

My experiences are not meant to glamorize and hide this fact in modern-day commuting. I also account for my other experiences to what I just mentioned. For instance, I’m surprised that the minimum fare last time I rode a jeepney is already 12 pesos. If I’m going to places farther than Sta. Mesa, I allot at least 30 minutes or so to my travel time just not to be stuck in traffic.

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In short, commuting in our country in a nutshell is still a long-standing predicament that all of us have to deal with. Therefore, a problem that impedes socioeconomic activities require a concrete solution. Our issue with transportation cannot be resolved by resiliency.

Pexels | Marfil Graganza Aquino

To conclude, commuters come and go with every stop the driver makes. It may be someone’s beginning or end trip. The whole commuting experience may be smooth-sailing or a bumpy ride. Every time I ride a jeepney, these always come to mind. In the journey of life, all of us have a destination of our own.

How about you? What’s your commuting experience? Find more related articles like this through this link.

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