MANILA, Philippines — After over half a century, the Philippines’ “sweet lover” may soon take on an entirely new form.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced in a press conference that it is drafting new designs for a prototype of a modern jeepney driver.
Notable changes included in the prototype design are the additional of an extra arm to reach out for fares and an extra eye at the back to increase driver alertness.
“The extra appendage ensures that the modern driver’s arm are always on the wheel,” said LTFRB Chair Martin Delgra III. “The extra globular organ at the back ensures that the modern driver’s inborn eyes and attention are always on the road.”
He added, “The modern driver shall then use the extra eye for other purposes, such as counting how many seats are still available at the back, thus negating the need for a barker.”
The program will implement the phasing out of all existing PUV drivers with prior traffic violations, which will then be replaced by drivers with “enhanced cognitive abilities” to distinguish a red light from a green light, tell the difference between solid and broken lines, as well as the capability to respect a pedestrian lane.
“Basically know the traffic rule book by heart for lack of a better word,” he said.
LTFRB was quick to point out that with all the added features that comes with “enhanced cognitive abilities” add-on, some older features of a jeepney driver will not be included.
“The banking feature of antiquated drivers that saw them stop in the middle of the road to exchange bills with other drivers will be removed,” Delgra explained. “Their notorious colorful vocabulary and penchant to flash the dirty finger will also be removed.”
The highly sought after feature to restrict the driver’s eyes from peering across an attractive passenger seated beside him will also be implemented.
There are around 204,000 jeepney drivers plying the roads nationwide, with an estimated 95 percent of which disregard traffic laws.
Delgra added that the current jeepney driver’s design, which has remained largely unchanged for half a century, cannot pass UN safety standards.
“Walang disiplina, dinibdib ang pagiging hari ng kalsada at hindi binibigyang importansya ang kaligtasan ng mamamayan (There’s no discipline, took to heart of them being king of the road and doesn’t give importance to public safety),” he said.
Other sought after features that are still under consideration includes removing their consciousness to resist future modernization programs as well as making the modern drivers more compassionate to not fill up their tank of gas when passengers are in a hurry.
If this project proves to be successful, LTFRB will then undertake the bus driver modernization program next.