Back in the day, Dumaguete had a few hundred motorized tricycles (pedicabs) plying the streets. There were also fewer people – 65,000 people in Dumaguete in the early 80s. Traffic was not a problem. People either walked, took the pedicabs or drove their cars or motorcycles.
Fast forward to 2019. Traffic has slowed to a horrendous snarl. There are now 2,500 pedicabs as of two years ago and only 1,966 were issued permits by the Mayor (The Negros Chronicle, Oct. 4, 2017). So that means there are 534 illegal pedicabs out there. The city authorities will have to contend with the illegally operating pedicabs. It’s their job to do so. We do not want to create a situation where people just ignore the city’s ordinances and get away with it.
These pedicabs are no longer serving the needs of the people. The passengers are often refused a ride by these pedicab drivers even if they have no passengers; some people are forced to pay twice or thrice the fee so the drivers will let them ride. And when it rains, the kings of the road get all pompous and smug, refusing passengers a ride, forcing them to walk in the heavy rain.
Dumaguete as the capital of Negros Oriental, is fast rising to be a modern city. It is close to beautiful beaches, dive sites, lakes, waterfalls and mountains that attract people but also has the amenities of a modern city. It is high time to move to a better, more efficient transport system than the pedicabs. A friend of mine from Manila who came to Dumaguete and Apo Island for the first time asked why there were too many pedicabs. “They look like a colony of ants!” she laughed.
Mini vans like Tamaraw FX cars like the ones plying the streets of Baguio City may serve a better purpose for residents of Dumaguete. They take more people going to the same destination faster. Since they carry more passengers, they leave lesser carbon footprint and less pollution. Finally, they do not jam the streets the way these 2,500 pedicabs do. Let us take Dumaguete forward to progress. The time for these kings of the road has passed. It’s time to move to the next level – ###