GenSan eyes regulating tricycles to solve traffic woes

Tricycles remain a major mode of transport even in Mindanao’s highly urbanized cities, like these units in Butuan City. General Santos City seeks to reduce its number of tricycles to ease traffic problems. MindaNews file photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/23 August) — City officials are pushing for the passage by next month of a proposed comprehensive ordinance that would regulate and manage traffic and public transportation in the area.

City Councilor Dominador Lagare Jr., chair of the city council’s committee on transportation, said Wednesday they have already finalized the provisions of the measure, which aims to address the glut of tricycles and city’s worsening traffic problem.

He said his committee is only waiting for the final recommendations related to the ordinance from the City Legal Office.

“But the city mayor (Ronnel Rivera) already gave his go-signal regarding its provisions so we’re hoping that it will be finally passed next month,” he said in a radio interview.

Lagare first introduced the proposed ordinance last year but it remained pending due to studies made by the committee and the delayed submission of recommendations from the City Legal Office.

Mayor Rivera vowed last year to support the enactment of a comprehensive transportation code, which he described as “bible” for the city government in terms of addressing the city’s public transportation concerns.

The proposed ordinance, which is dubbed the “Comprehensive Land Transport and Traffic Code of the City of General Santos,” took off from the results of a transport study for the area in 2014 conducted by the League of Cities of the Philippines and funded by the World Bank.

Lagare, author of the proposed transportation code, said around 42,000 tricycles are currently plying various routes within the city’s 26 barangays.

He said around 30,000 of these are “trisikads” or scooters that were attached with sidecars and the remaining 12,000 are standard six-seater tricycles.

But he said the 2014 study, which was facilitated by the City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office, showed that the ideal number of tricycles in the city should only be 9,000 units.

Through the proposed code, Lagare said they will regulate the number of tricycles to the recommended 9,000 units and rid the city’s streets of the “oversupply” or excess 33,000 units.

He said the tricycles will be divided into three clusters and color codes — red, green and white — based on existing routes, each allotted with 3,000 units.

The official said all tricycle drivers and operators, including those of the excess units, would be organized into cooperatives through the assistance of the local government.

He said the city will help the cooperatives to go into income-generating ventures and avail of subsidies and grants for electric or e-jeepneys to support those who will be affected by the regulation.

He added that the other affected tricycle drivers would be trained for deployment as drivers and conductors of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Hybrid Electric Road Train (HERT), which will be deployed in the city by October.

The HERT is a “40-meter train-like bus” launched by DOST in 2015, and was designed and made by Filipino engineers with locally available parts.

It can run at a maximum speed of 50 kilometers per hour and is mainly powered by hybrid diesel fuel and electric-powered battery. (MindaNews)