Another word on kids and public transporation

One time, I took my little cousin out for a stroll at a nearby mall. On our way back home, we rode a jeepney. There were only, I guess, about 4-5 other people on the jeep so it wasn’t too crowded and my cousin sat beside me. I gave the jeepney conductor a 20-peso bill to pay for our fare. He gave me back 13 pesos. I was confused for a moment and automatically returned 6 pesos (minimum SP fare at the time) and said “Para duha na, kuya…” He gave me this funny look and went back to minding his own business (or that of other passengers, I guess.)

Later on, I realized that I was “violating” (for lack of a better word) an unwritten jeepney rule: kids don’t count as passengers unless the parent/guardian explicitly says they want to pay for the kid.

Usually, they have to assert this only when the jeep is full, the kid is taking up valuable space that might fit another passenger, and the adult doesn’t want him/her sitting on their lap or standing up.

The reason for this, I suppose is that of economy: The little thing isn’t taking that much space anyway and could get out of the way in an instant – why should I pay for it?

And while that is understandable, I kind-of feel that it has mentally reduced the child to that of a thing – a non-person like the bag you’re carrying that you don’t have to pay to transport.

(Interestingly enough, I have been charged the same fare as an adult passenger for an LPG tank I took from Midsayap to Aleosan while, on the same jeep, the girl sitting on her mother’s lap got a free ride.)

But then again, this demotion only lasts for the entire duration of the jeep ride.

After that, the kid becomes a human being again.

No harm done, right?

I hope not, at least.

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3 thoughts on “Another word on kids and public transporation

  1. gabriel b says:

    this is my chance to rant about the jeepneys in this country.

    the things that i hate about jeepneys:

    1.the drivers don’t have eyes and fill the jeepney 4 people beyond capacity

    2. the lazy people that sit in the very back because they don’t want to walk up to the driver and think it is their right for others to hand their fare to the driver

    3. the person who joins you in the front when the back is completely empty

    4. the person who sits in front with you who doesn’t get down so you can get down. they just sit there and expect you to climb over them to get out

    5. those who tell the jeepney driver to stop literally one second after already being stopped. is it seriously that hard to literally walk two more feet and get out a little bit earlier?

    • 1. For some reason many jeepney drivers seem to think that exactly 10 people will fit in every side of the jeepney, no matter how wide they are. Not sure if they have recently left out the vision test off drivers’ license application or if this is part of a national program to prevent obesity.

      2. In the Philippines, handing fare to the driver is practically a social responsibility. Get used to it. (Even more annoying are the people who insist on sitting at the back, and don’t move even for the pregnant or the elderly who will have trouble getting up or down the jeepney.)

      3. The front seat is the “macho seat”. I can’t even explain why, but it is. Alternatively, they can hang off the rear of the jeepney or sit on the rooftop even if empty seats are available inside.

      4. With all the people stuffed in the jeepney, they’re probably afraid they won’t fit in anymore if they actually get down. Not much of a problem, in Philippine standards though. An even bigger challenge is when the jeepney is stuffed with boxes and baskets of market goods besides all the people.

      5. Must check if door-to-door delivery is one of jeepney drivers’ responsibilities. May also be a reason why aforementioned national program to prevent obesity is not working.

      6. Keep in mind that when you leave this country, there is a chance that you will find this all endearing.

      Happy riding!

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