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‘King of the Road’ back on QC streets through ‘Lalajeep’

BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL Two drivers transform their vehicle into a delivery service after both sign up for Lalamove’s “Lalajeep” program which aims to provide them an alternative source of income in the middle of an ongoing ban on traditional jeepneys. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — Ruben Lopez was among the more than 9,000 jeepney drivers in Quezon City who were left without jobs after the government banned public transportation to stop the spread of the new coronavirus disease.

But last week, the 42-year-old was once again back behind the wheel through “Lalajeep,” a partnership between the city government and delivery service app Lalamove.

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Small Business and Cooperatives Development and Promotions Office head Mona Yap said the project would allow businesses to book jeepneys through the Lalamove app to deliver their goods within Quezon City.

“It’s cheaper than a [multipurpose vehicle] and jeeps can hold a lot of goods so it’s value for money. With the base fee of P200 and an additional P20 per kilometer per delivery, drivers can earn well per day. Some of them were able to pay the boundary to their operators after only two bookings,” she added.

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According to Yap, Lalajeep aims to help a total of 200 jeepney drivers directly affected by the continuing community quarantine. The city government is in charge of screening and assisting in the registration of the drivers and facilitating online group training sessions for those who are accepted into the program.

Since the program’s launching last week, Yap said they had activated 36 drivers, while 14 more would join the service starting today.

“They are allowed to operate only within Quezon City, so we don’t want to oversaturate the market …,” Yap said. “We’re trying to see the demand and we’re trying to catch up with the orders. On Monday alone, our drivers were able to attend to 81 orders.”

“This project is a big help to us because without it, we will not really be able to buy food anymore. I need to provide for my wife, our 12-year-old son and two other children under our care, so this program will really help us survive another day,” said Lopez, who was among the first batch of jeepney drivers who qualified for Lalajeep.Lopez said that he gets around five to six bookings a day for various entrepreneurs—from delivering vegetables to succulents, installations, bread and other food items.

Twenty percent of his daily earnings go to Lalamove as service fee, while the rest is split between him and his operator.

“So far, the biggest amount I was able to take home was P500 after paying for the boundary and gas,” Lopez said. “It’s just a fraction of what we were earning before the pandemic, but it’s already a big help to us.” INQ

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TAGS: coronavirus pandamic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, jeepney delivery service, Lalajeep, Lalamove
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