The tricycle, or most popularly pronounced in the Philippines as “traysikel”, is a road icon in the country. If there are rickshaws in other Asian countries, we have the traysikel, a rather small, side car with a roof attached to a motorcycle.
The traysikel is usually built to comfortably carry two passengers on its side car and one passenger seated at the back of the driver. But in most cases, traysikels carry more than three passengers on the side car and two at the back of the driver’s seat.
Traysikels normally ply roads where no other transport vehicles can travel or the route is less than a kilometer. It is easy to know if a traysikel is approaching, the noise from their engines. It is so loud that it can rival the sound of a jet taking off from a runway (“it’s just an exaggeration, but believe me, the noise they create is really annoying).
Aside from using the traysikel as a public transport, some drivers and operators use it as a school service… And definitely, they are fly-by-night school services as the Philippine government does not allow traysikels to be registered as a school service, obviously, for the school children’s safety reasons. I am not saying that it is not safe to ride the traysikel… but as I said, the driver always try to have more passengers that his side car can comfortably carry to earn more per trip.
I was traveling along a northern provincial road and in a stop, I saw this stainless traysikel with a girl inside who was wearing a school uniform. Several questions ran in my mind:
… Did they just came from a school or are they on their way to a school?
… Is the driver the father or a relative of the school girl?
… Is the traysikel owned by the driver or is owned by a third-party operator?
… Is she the only passenger or they will pick up more passengers?
My questions remained unanswered as we went our separate ways…