Who cares about colorum tricycles and underaged drivers?

BIZLINKS - Rey Gamboa - The Philippine Star

The problem with “colorum” tricycles, those three-wheeled vehicles operating as public transportation but without a franchise permit, has gotten so out of hand in many cities and municipalities that many local governments are on the verge of giving up trying to keep them off the streets.

Tricycles can successfully play cat-and-mouse with barangay law and order enforcers, operating sometimes for decades without the local government permits. More importantly, those that are poorly maintained pose grave safety risks to their unwitting passengers.

Quite a number of tricycles that operate late at night are not only without permits to operate, but even their drivers are also colorum, driving without licenses. Many are young adults, often looking for some income to support a child born of teen pregnancy.

Even self-policing has limited success, and many of the tricycle operators and drivers associations (TODA) in the localities often turn to their local governments for assistance in trying to curb the number of illegally operated tricycles, sometimes even by their own members.

Commuter tricycles, often the mobility link of many low-income households to major thoroughfares, are a precious source of income of many Filipinos displaced in the formal working sector because of the lack of employable skills. Oftentimes, driving a tricycle will be the only mode of livelihood until retirement.

Tricycle owners and drivers see little reason to get a franchise permit, especially if they service passengers in remote subdivisions or barrios. The option to go colorum is often driven by local governments setting a cap on the number of franchises allowed to operate.

Local governments are likewise often constrained in allowing more tricycles to operate in their localities. Often, the number of allowed franchises is computed based on the perceived need of the local population, and with consultation with local TODAs, although, of course, this is not a constraint for many of the illegal tricycle owners.

Fabrication of sidecars is often a backyard industry, offering a wide range of “models” that may not necessarily be ergonomically sound or follow accepted engineering design. And with the number of cheap second-hand motorcycles available in the market, getting a tricycle on the road is easy-peasy.

Let’s hope that local governments can come up with some effective solutions soon. They may lose some voter from disenfranchised tricycle drivers and owners, or they may win the public’s support.

Does anyone really care?

Underage motorcycle drivers

One reader, Will Walker of Marilao, Bulacan, delves on a related topic. Please read on.

“Loved your article on parking. Most barangay officials just don’t care. They even let underage kids drive motorcycles. I have talked to my barangay head and he told me that it was the kids parents responsibility. What a joke! Even the police do nothing to these kids. I even sent emails to a lot of congressmen and all you get is a form letter.

“Below is the email I sent them. As I said no one gives a damn. Triple the fines and see what happens. Also hold the barangay officials accountable. Fine them or remove them from office. They see what is happening and don’t care.

“I am an American who has lived here in the Philippines for 14 years. I worked at a call center here for 10 years and now am retired. I am a permanent resident.

“My main concern is underage drivers on motorcycles. Every day I see kids that are 10 to 15 years old driving motorcycles. Sometimes, there are even two to four of them on one motorcycle. They have no helmet and wear slippers. They swerve on the road, do illegal passing and pull out in front of cars without looking.

“They even do this on major highways and in all villages and all barangays. They even drive at night without lights, pass illegally, and will pull in front of you. They drive on sidewalks and even counter flow. The LGUs do nothing to stop this breaking of the law. I even talked to barangay heads and all they say is if they cause an accident, the parents will be held responsible. What a joke!

“They even drive in front of local police and PNP and traffic control and they do nothing. Even a blind person can see they are underage and do not have a license. Even their parents do not care.

“I have contacted the LTO several times and they say they will look into it. I am sure they do not. Guess they do not care either. Every day when I drive my SUV, I almost get hit by one of them.

“It is almost to the point that I am scared to drive. I am 72 years old and I was told that if I have an accident with a motorcycle, it is my fault because my car is bigger than them.

“I follow all traffic laws and expect the same from others.

“I know you are busy with other concerns, but please do something. I know this may not concern you as you have your own drivers, but I am begging for something be done. I have sent this to several senators and all I get is a form email stating that they will look into it. Guess no one cares about their kids or if kids get killed.

“I would love to speak to congress about this matter, but am sure that it will never happen. No one cares to listen to ordinary citizens anyway.”

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We are actively using two social networking websites to reach out more often and even interact with and engage our readers, friends and colleagues in the various areas of interest that I tackle in my column. Please like us on www.facebook.com/ReyGamboa and follow us on www.twitter.com/ReyGamboa.

Should you wish to share any insights, write me at Link Edge, 25th Floor, 139 Corporate Center, Valero Street, Salcedo Village, 1227 Makati City. Or e-mail me at [email protected]. For a compilation of previous articles, visit www.BizlinksPhilippines.net.


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