VIRAL: Passenger pleasantly surprised jeepney driver gives discounts to students

Photo from Ferrosa Ivon Cruz.

While Filipino commuters have been dealing with the burden of the recent jeepney fare hike, this passenger was pleasantly surprised to find herself paying PHP7 (US$.13) for a ride instead of the standard PHP9 (US$.17).

In a post on Tuesday in Facebook group Balitang Malolos (Malolos News), college student Ferrosa Ivon Cruz said the lower rate was given to her by an “honest” jeepney driver.

“Bait ni tatay (literally “father” but also a term of respect for elders), he’s honest with passengers. Even though I told him to charge me the regular fare because I am a working student and am on vacation from school, he still only charged me PHP7 (US$.13),” Cruz wrote in Filipino.

In a Facebook message to Coconuts Manila, Cruz said that she even asked the driver why he didn’t charge her PHP8 (US$.15) instead. The driver’s answer shocked the student.

“He said that the discount [for students] is 20%, not PHP1 (US$.02). I even computed it [to check] and saw that the discount was 1.80 (US$.03),” she said in Filipino.

“He even said that even when the price is rounded off, the result will still be 7 pesos (US$.13) and not 8 pesos (US$.15)”

Cruz, who is in her second year as a business administration student at the Bulacan State University said this happened on Monday as she was on her way to Malolos, Bulacan’s town center.

She was wearing a school shirt, which is how the driver was able to identify her as a student.

In the Philippines, jeepneys are required to give a 20 percent discount to students even during weekends and holidays. This benefit also extends to senior citizens and people with disability.

However, Cruz said most of the jeepneys she rides don’t follow the law, which is why she was surprised with the driver’s act of kindness.

“It’s heartening because, in my almost daily commute, this was the only time I encountered a nice driver,” she said. “For now, he’s the only driver I’ve ridden who follows [the law].”

Cruz’s post on the Balitang Malolos page now has close to 4,000 reactions and has been picked up by The Philippine Star‘s Facebook page where it has gotten close to 10,000 reactions, more than 3,000 shares, and more than 300 comments.

Facebook user Fercilda Escobar Sanorjo hoped all jeepneys offered the same discount. “Hopefully all [jeepneys],” she said in Filipino.

Skey Garcia Balbero hoped the post would make it to the news so other drivers would be inspired to do the same. “Hope this makes it to the news to inform other drivers.”

And it looks like it’s not only drivers that need to be more informed. Another commenter tagged her friend saying: “See friend, I told you we have a 20% discount. Even if the fare increased by 1 [peso]. Tsk. You didn’t want to believe me.”

But some were a bit pessimistic about other drivers following suit.

“We can’t expect this in Manila,” Einstein Salcedo said.

Have you encountered other jeepney drivers like this? Let us know your stories in the comments section below or tweet us @CoconutsManila.

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