My first ever trip to Tagaytay was about 15 years ago when I was on holiday in the Philippines and at that time the standard of driving there was terrible the worst offenders were tricycle drivers that seemed to pull out without looking, spin round in the road with no thought for other drivers and all the other bad habits tricycle drivers are renowned for.
Today it is very different and every time I visit I notice improvements in the standard of driving, so much so on my last trip I did not see any driver make stupid manoeuvres.
So what has changed in Tagaytay?
To my knowledge there has not been a major clamp down on bad drivers by enforcers, and on my last visit I did not see one traffic enforcer, so it is unlikely to be down to enforcement.
What has changed is there are less tricycles as the tricycle drivers have switched from tricycles (motorbike with sidecar) to 3 wheelers such as the Bajaj RE 4S and the Piaggio Ape, mostly the Bajaj RE 4S. These are known as Autorickshaws in India and have been given the nickname of Tuk-Tuk by visitors to India.
How is it possible that the Tuk-Tuk has improved driving in Tagaytay?
After speaking to some of the drivers the one thing that has really changed for them is they now have pride in what they drive and their job. One driver I spoke to said “We have pride driving our Bajaj RE’s on the road, we never had that before.”
Another told me “Visitors to Tagaytay complement us on how nice our Bukyo (name given to the Bajaj RE in Tagaytay) look and how comfortable they are to ride in, it makes me feel proud. Before they used to moan about our tricycles.”
I know from personal experience feeling pride in you vehicle improves driving, when I was a truck driver if I was given a new nice looking truck I used to drive better.
What you do notice is the drivers of the Tuk Tuks look before they pull out, they give way to other road users, and they used indicators (signal lights) something that is very rare for tricycle drivers to do.
Other factors that make Tuk Tuk drivers drive better
The Bajaj Re does not have the same tight turning circle of a tricycle, this means they can not spin it round on the spot the way they used to with their tricycles, this means planning ahead more which is a major factor in becoming a good driver. It also means they do not just spin round in front of other drivers.
Cost is also another factor a small accident with the sidecar of a tricycle did little damage and could be put right in a welding shop for next to nothing. An accident in a Bajaj RE is going to cost them as it is the same as denting the body of a car, it needs knocking out by an expert in a body shop and respraying.
Less frustration for other drivers
Both the Bajaj RE 4S and the Piaggio Ape are more than capable of keeping up with the flow of traffic, so unlike a tricycle they do not hold up car drivers, cause frustration and people making risky manoeuvres to get past them.
Knock on effect
The improved driving of the ex-tricycle drivers when they switch to Tuk Tuks in Tagaytay also seems to be having a knock on effect on other drivers.
Not really sure of the reason for this, but there is no doubt that other drivers seem to be driving better, it probably comes down to the fact people are like sheep and follow each other, so if they see others driving better they also drive better themselves.
Also as I already mentioned the fact the Tuk Tuk keeps up with traffic leads to less frustration for other drivers.
As you can see from this video the driving is far better than it used to be.
I hope that other cities and municipalities around the Philippines will take note of the changes when driving in Tagaytay, as there is hardly anywhere in the Philippines where tricycles do not cause major problems on the road. Most spend a lot of time trying to work out how to fix this problem while still looking after the concerns of the drivers and the public that use them for transport.