IN an effort to ensure full compliance to mandatory physical distancing while levelling up the dignity of pedicab drivers in Manila, Mayor Isko Moreno is introducing new tri-wheel motorized vehicles to be called either ‘taxi-cle or ‘pedi-grab’ in lieu of the old pedicabs for a downpayment of only one peso.
In a number of meetings with pedicab operators and drivers’ association (PODA), Moreno took the consensus of the said drivers who all expressed their interest in availing of the opportunity to drive a public utility tri-wheel of their own.
Moreno said a private company has alloted 2,000 units of such tricycles, which the company maker called ‘ Corona Edition,’ for the Manila local government to offer its pedicab drivers. The mayor, along with assistant secretary to the mayor Letlet Zarcal, yesterday tried the new vehicle which he rode from his office to the Universidad de Manila where he inspected the progress of the facemasks being made for free distribution to Manilans.
The mayor also noted that currently, regulations allow each pedicab driver to ferry just one passenger but that with the said new motorized vehicle, they will be allowed to carry two to three passengers while being fully compliant with the social distancing requirement.
“Para matapos na ang panahon na padyak nang padyak araw-araw. Mas ligtas ito, may insurance pa na five years, kaya walang kaba yung pasahero anuman ang mangyari o kung nasira yung sidecar,” Moreno, himself a former sidecar boy in his younger years, said.
The mayor added: “Nasa kanila kung tingin nila eh tataaas ang antas ng kanilang hanapbuhay o kung gusto nilang ganun na lamang sila. Ako kasi bilang dating sidecar boy, kung ako ay mabibigyan ng gobyerno ng ganyang pagkakataon, bakit hindi? Basta ako, hindi ko i-introduce kung malalagay kayo sa alanganin.”
Each one who is interested only has to pay a downpayment of one peso, while the installment payment will be pegged at P188 a day, based on initial plans.
This amount, according to Moreno, is less than the ordinary ‘boundary,’ the daily amount that a pedicab driver has to pay the owner of his unit in exchange for allowing him to use it.
Moreno said that for one who owns the very unit that he drives, the city government will purchase his worn-out pedicab at a fair price and destroy it in his presence.
Every unit has built-in acrylic dividers that would separate each passenger from one another, along with the driver who will not only be protected from getting infected by coronavirus but moreso, from the sun and rains since it has roof. The designs available may accommodate three or five passengers.
Notably too, the said modern tricycles can negotiate uphill roads easily, compared to when pedalling like in the case of pedicabs.
Moreno also ordered a study on the possibility of partnering the operation of the pedicab drivers who will avail of the said units to a TNVS.