How to Ride a Jeepney in the Philippines
While most people living in the Philippines may not ever step foot in a jeepney there are some that will. If you are like me and like good value then it’s hard to find better value than getting from point A to point B for only 20 cents.
Even though taxis are cheap here they still cost 10x to 20x as much as jeeps do. If you find yourself staying near a popular jeepney route it can be really cheap and easy to use them.
How to Ride a Jeepney in the Philippines – Steps
First off you will need to be prepared to be a bit uncomfortable inside because they really pack a lot of people inside. If you are claustrophobic they probably are not for you. They also can get really hot so they are better at night or in the non summer months.
You should try to keep your valuables secure as well. They really aren’t that dangerous, and you get used to them over time.
1. Have your fare ready
I think the most important thing you can do (other than knowing where you are going) is having your fare in your hands before you get on.
It is definitely easiest to have exact change for your ride, because that way you don’t have to reach your hands back in your pockets to put the change in. With many people are packed into them it can be hard to access your pockets.
2. Pass it up
Some jeeps have a conductor at the back you will pay, others you will just pass your money up to the driver.
Sometimes they will ask you where you are going but if you are a foreigner and just pass up the right amount (8-12 pesos usually) they aren’t likely to question you.
3. Know when to stop….
Depending what area of the country you are in you will say different words to ask them to stop.
In Luzon you would say ‘para‘ and in Cebu I don’t even know what you are supposed to say. I don’t know because by the time I went to Cebu I had learned the easiest way to get them to stop is to tap a coin against the hand rail.
While many foreigners look down on jeeps (some locals have never ever used them either, or just once) you really can save a lot of money using them. If you’re just a tourist it’s probably not worth it, but if you live here the savings add up.
If I took taxis everywhere instead of jeeps I’d spend at least an extra $2000 a year. That’s almost 20% of my total yearly budget. I’ll gladly take a bit of discomfort to lower my yearly living costs in the Philippines by that much.