SPOKANE, Wash. — The jeepney is an integral part of Filipino culture. In Manila, the capital of the Philippines, it is the most common form of transportation. Some 100,000 of them crowd the streets, bringing riders to their desired destinations.
The iconic Jeepney look comes from its unique history. Following World War 2 there were many Willy’s Jeeps left in the Philippines by the U.S. Those jeeps were put to good use. They elongated the wheel base, added bench seats and roof. That turned the small jeeps into a useful form of transportation.
These days, those jeeps are owned and operated independently and regulated by the Filipino government. Each one of the more than 100,000 Jeepneys has it’s own unique flair. The bright colors, custom art, and exotic horns are how they entice riders to choose them over the competition.
Jeepneys typically have a driver and conductor and stick to specific routes. The driver follows the route while the conductor calls out stops and collects pay from passengers. The open air of the Jeepney and the amount of people riding makes the ride energetic and exciting.
While there are more than 100,000 cruising the streets of the Philippines, there are only about a dozen registered in the U.S. Having a piece of this Filipino culture here in Spokane is very special.