Davao City to crack whip on illegal tricycles

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/10 April) — The city council is contemplating moves to crack down on unregistered tricycles and shops using such contraptions after receiving complaints from a transport operators group who said their livelihood has been affected by this problem.

Locally called “payong-payong” for the umbrellas that serve as their roofing, the illegal tricycles are mostly in Toril district where about 90 percent were not registered with the City Franchising Office, committee on rules chair Bernard Al-ag told reporters Wednesday.

Al-ag was referring to council item no. 1197, the letter of Gerardo B. Reyes to the city council regarding the present state of the traffic situation and law enforcement in Toril Poblacion especially during peak hours.

Reyes attributed the problem to the “colorum” or illegal tricycles.

Al-ag said the group, the Route C-09 Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association Inc., counts around 300 legal motor vehicles.

“The situation has demoralized the legal drivers,” he said.

Tricycle operators are required to pay fees for registration, license and franchise, among others, and are required by the city to be customized as a closed cab to be considered legitimate.

The councilor said the presence of illegal tricycles has discouraged drivers from processing their papers and paying different fees.

“They are the ones affected,” he said. “They are paying the government, and they are following the regulations, but there are many drivers and operators around you who either don’t have franchise or have had their franchises expired.”

Another problem, he said, was that it had become too easy to buy a motorcycle, add some parts, and operate as a passenger vehicle.

“I have even seen minors driving the vehicles,” he noted.

Al-ag said the proposed measure would require motorcycle shops to wait for the authorization of the city before they may assemble the vehicles. “We’re looking at which agencies can help us do that.”

The councilor also questioned the Traffic Management Center’s performance in the area, a year after the city council officially asked it to build a permanent satellite office in the district.

“Last year, when we asked them why there was no satellite office, the department said it lacked manpower. The root of the problem is the poor implementation of the law,” he said, adding the TMC already had a budget to hire 100 more personnel.

Aside from Toril, other barangays also experienced the same problem except that the barangay officials could not be deputized to apprehend violators for lack of an enabling law.

According to a study conducted from February to November 2013by transportation consultant Asia Halcrow, the city had 2,105 motorized tricycles.

The tricycles comprise 22 percent of the total public transport vehicles in the city, with the rest of the figure comprising jeepneys, filcabs and taxis regulated by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

“The large number of vehicles makes it difficult to regulate and manage, and itself is often the case of traffic congestion. It is aggravated by the inappropriate and inefficient use of vehicles to carry passengers,” the study said.

As of 2013, the city had 13,935 public transport vehicles.

The study added that in Libby Road (near Toril), there was one tricycle every thirty seconds during peak hours, translating to at least 400 passengers headed toward the same direction.

The study attributed the rise of tricycles and other alternative transport such as habal-habal (motorcycles) to a lack of available jeepneys and jeepney routes. (MindaNews)