The Beginning of the End of the Iconic Philippine’s Tricycle?

Lapu-Lapu City Bans Installation of Sidecars

In my opinion, this title implies that the squeeze on the iconic Philippines tricycle is underway. My first trip to the Philippines was in 1983 and “trikes” were our primary source of transportation while living here. Oh there were Jeepneys of course, but the trikes could ply routes just about anywhere… from just about any bar to my front door. Tricycles then were also a major income provider to of a large segment of the Filipino population.  And they still are! And sidecars aren’t just for carrying human passengers, but everything under the sun… if it could fit in a sidecar, there was no limit to the types of cargo it could tote around. Nobody really needed a car back then.

Trikes have long been a historical transportation mainstay for a majority of filipinos for many years. It was the way you and your things got around. Not today! With the Philippines economic situation on the rise, many people are purchasing cars now. The roadways are getting more crowded on a daily basis and it is becoming a major headache in all of the large metropolitan areas and now in the fast growing smaller cities around the country.

Just recently, the Philippines DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año signed Memorandum Circular 2020-036 directing all local chief executives to strictly implement a ban on tricycles, pedicabs and motorized pedicabs on national highways and to create a tricycle task force that shall draw up a tricycle route plan in their areas.

Pedicabs sit idle in the philippines
Pedicabs sitting idle in the Philippines

As the roadways become even more overcrowded, the little guy will get pushed out first. Isn’t that always the way it always works? You can read more about this highway ban in my last post “Driving at Night Just Got Safer… Maybe.”  In recent years, jeepneys, tricycles and habal-habals have all come under attack, and now these attacks are being felt first-hand by the poorest residents. And because the rich get richer, the small guy – trying to feed his family doing the only thing he knows how to do – will become the first victims to this evolutionary change (called progress).

While the natural selection process helped to promulgate this ingeneous method of affordable transportation, it will also be responsible for the demise of this once popular transportation system that almost everyone relied upon. The way I see it, this iconic system will eventually be put to rest at the behest of the new higher-than-mighty SUV driver class – they won’t allow it to proliferate any longer.  The Philippine’s roadways are no longer big enough to accomodate both the poor man and the increasingly arrogant, up and coming middle class.

Now tricycles once again are under the gun, and one of the first steps in dismantling this part of the transportation system is to get a handle on limiting the number of operating franchises. And one of the first casualties in the war on transportation will be the sidecar manufacturers.  Soon it may be that he who has the most power and influence will own all the tricycles… and the franchises to operate them also.

Read more on the city of Lapu Lapu banning installation of sidecars.

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