The passenger jeepney is notorious for being uncomfortable and unsafe for passengers, but research conducted by the College of Engineering of the University of the Philippines (Diliman) reveals that the drivers are also suffering because of the poor design of the vehicle.
According to the study, the "driver's seat" is 32.44 cm tall and is "considerably shorter than the average length of the usual lower leg (45.27 cm)." The back rest height of 53.89 cm also offers inadequate support and barely any comfort for the driver. Aside from the seats, the fixed side mirrors are also source of difficulty for the driver.
Despite this, the drivers report that they are "contended with the state of their workspace."
Data for the study was collected from jeepneys playing in the UP Diliman Campus, with the researchers measuring random vehicles and interviewing drivers.
"The drivers just choose to ignore these problems simply because there will be monetary costs in solving these problems and because they have grown accustomed to these conditions," the study said.
"Public jeepneys manufactured in the Philippines are produced at minimum cost; jeepneys do not undergo proper design planning procedures that other vehicles are subjected to, thus resulting to poorly designed workspace detrimental to the health of the drivers."
The researchers advised a redesign, giving ample space for the driver to make the 10-hour workshift more tolerable and affording their occupation more dignity.
Last December, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Chairman William Ginez announced a plan to gradually phase out public utility jeepneys that are at least 15 years old. Ginez said safety, convenience, and comfort should be given more priority and that older jeeps are no longer providing these for the passengers or the drivers.
Jeepney drivers protested the motion, claiming that 600,000 drivers will lose their job and 250,000 operators will also lose their business. —Aya Tantiangco/JST, GMA News