Sunday, January 22, 2006


And the game is called:
"Let's Figure Out Why Pedicabs Suck and Let's Think of Ways to Fix the Damn Thing."

I mean, it's a total contradiction. How in heaven's name did Manila's ubiquitous pedicab become such a source of frustration, fear, irritation, and derision when, in essence, it should have been the most positive contribution to Manila's transport system since asphalt. I mean, it's folk art, it doesn't use FOSSIL FUELS, it's entrepreneurial, it fits small side streets, and it employs unskilled labor. It really shouldn't be such a grand pain in the ass at the end of the day. So after much thought, I think I've figured out a few reasons why they suck, suck, suck - as well as a few solutions...
1.) The Cab - Being located on one side, the weight is not balanced out properly. This limits passenger/cargo load to small boxes and even smaller people. The lopsided load also makes it difficult to drive straight (the wheels are pulled towards the heavier side.)
Solution: Center the weight in the back. Like this.
2.) The Artwork - In most cases, too slapdash to be of any merit. It comes across more like egoistic graffiti than an expression of a folk tradition. Feels sometimes like you are riding a tatoo on the back of an ex-convict.
Solution: Hold decoration contests during town fiestas. Not that I'm saying we should take money away from the "Miss Gay Barangay" contests. But Lord knows money has been spent on sillier things. Either that, or keep more convicts in jail so that they don't decorate pedicabs.
3.) The Window - Too small. It creates feelings of paranoia. Also limits tourist potential as no views are offered for photo ops.
Solution: Go convertible. Like this.
4.) The Bicycle - Too small once again. Small wheels make it more tiring to pedal long distances.
Solution: Bigger bicycle.
5.) The Power Source Himself - Although usually cheery with great smiles, due to lack of organization and the absence of a published fare matrix, some drivers become rather opportunistic and do not quote prices consistently. Casual oversized shirt (if any at all) and open shoes portray an image of unprofessionalism.
Solution: Stronger rules in applying a price matrix. Application of higher standards upon the leaders of pedicab unions. Pedicab driver training in courtesy and road rules. Privatize.

Any other observations? Any other ideas about how else we can change the pedicab from a pain in the ass to an asset?