Pedicabs and tricycles traversing major thoroughfares.
Pedicabs and tricycles traversing major thoroughfares in region 8.

TACLOBAN CITY,  (PNA) -– The Regional Development Council (RDC) formed a technical working group (TWG) that will study the proposal to gradually phase-out tricycles and pedicabs on national roads of the region.

In a meeting Tuesday, the RDC’s infrastructure and utilities development committee (IUDC) agreed to create a multi-agency body that will study the plea of the business sector to look into the “proliferation of three-wheeled contraptions” on major highways.

The TWG will be headed by the Land Transportation Office and the business sector. Members are the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), National Economic Development Authority, transport group, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and local government units.

DPWH Regional Director and IUDC Chairman Rolando Asis said that under existing laws, “three-wheeled contraptions” are not allowed in national highways.

“Tricycles and pedicabs are not considered as road worthy and these are prone to accidents. They are banned on national road, but the DPWH has no police power to drive them away from major roads. The local government has that power,” Asis said.

The newly-formed TWG will study existing laws on prohibition in national roads and propose diversion roads for tricycles and pedicabs.

The proponent, Roy Bernard Fiel, RDC’s private sector representative said “deterioration of basic transport services would be detrimental to the majority of riding public.”

“The unregulated proliferation of tricycles and pedicabs would pose hazards that might lead to the loss of lives and limbs of the riding public and the pedestrians,” Fiel, a sugar miller firm owner, said.

The businessman also cited economic losses due to competing road space in major highways as well as higher fuel consumptions of four-wheeled vehicles due to frequent stops of three-wheeled vehicles.

In 2007, the Department issued Memo Circular 2007-01, banning tricycles and pedicabs to operate “on national highways utilized by four-wheel vehicles greater than four tons and where normal speed exceeds 40 kilometers per hour.”

The same directive prescribes the minimum standards to be adopted by city and municipal governments in the formulation of a regulatory code for tricycle and pedicab franchise operation, including physical requirements, fares, load limit and operating conditions.

Sections 447 and 458 of the Local Government Code has conferred unto municipal and city governments, through their local council, the power to regulate the operation of tricycles and the grant of franchise for their operation within their territorial jurisdiction, subject to the guidelines prescribed by the Department of Transportation and Communications. (PNA)