It is interesting to compare the different approaches to getting the Tuk Tuk registered as a means of public transport in the 2 countries.
UK: Because they regard a Tuk Tuk as a small car and that is what it is due to the fact you sit inside it.
Philippines: The company that distributes them saw three-wheels and incorrectly thought tricycle.
UK: The company behind the push to allow Tuk Tuks to be used as public transport in the UK applied at city halls for it to be licensed as a Taxi, explaining they were good for tourism and environmentally friendly.
Philippines: They applied to city halls for it to be a tricycle.
UK: City halls held meetings to discuss if they would allow the Tuk Tuk as a Taxi never was the number of wheels seen as a problem. After the first batch of talks and researching Tuk Tuks some of the city halls had a few concerns about the safety of the passengers. They spoke to the company about this and the company that was introducing them said they would fit seat belts and put in a roll bar to give it extra roof strength.
The city halls discussed the company’s proposals and were happy that they would make them safer.
A Taxi licence was granted. The total time for this to happen was about 6 months and has not affect the use of Tuk Tuks for private use.
Philippines: Some city halls granted the Tuk Tuk franchises to be used as a tricycle, but many refused it on the grounds it was not a tricycle because under Philippines law a tricycle is a motorcycle with sidecar. This is where the problems started because they were trying to franchise it as something it is not.
Next step as far as we can work out was going to the Land Transport Office (LTO) the outcome of this seems to be LTO decides they will change the registration to Motorcycle/Tricycle despite the fact there was no such class on their system.
So LTO put out a memo to say the Tuk Tuk should be registered as a Motorcycle/Tricycle and then register it as a Motorcycle with Sidecar.
For those that are reading this outside the Philippines, you are probably thinking “What! how the hell can they register with a sidecar, there is no sidecar.” but that really was their solution. To make it worse there are people involved in this move that seem very proud of their solution to the problem.
To make things even worse the requirements to register a vehicle as a motorcycle with sidecar requires an affidavit of attachment of sidecar.
So the Philippines is now at a stage where they have thousands of Tuk Tuks providing transport to the public with false information on their registration documents. We also presume that LTO has knowingly accepted thousands of affidavits of attachment of sidecar which are totally untrue.
Because they decided to promote and apply for a franchise as a type of vehicle a Tuk Tuk never was and never will be the problems are still ongoing after 3 years.
End Result Philippines vs UK
UK: In just 6 months the Tuk Tuk is 100% legal to use as a taxi. The customers love these novel three-wheeler cars from India. The company has a good name both with the drivers and the general public. Also, Tuk Tuks becoming a Taxi has in no way affected private users.
Philippines: After 3 years it still has not been sorted. there are thousands of Tuk Tuks with false information on their registration documents. Some drivers cannot get a franchise to use them as any form of public transport. Private owners are getting fined. To sum up, it is a total mess where laws are being bent and broken.
Things happen slowly in the Philippines
This is an excuse we often hear and while there is some truth to it when it comes to government agencies, it is not the main reason and it could be the government agencies are slow because things are not done correctly in the first place. As for the company reputation, you only have to look on social media to see that it is not going good for them.
If they had done their research into what a Tuk Tuk is they would have realised that in other countries a Tuk Tuk is regarded as a Taxi. If they had not looked at the Tuk Tuks three wheels and incorrectly jumped to the conclusion it was a tricycle there would be no need for all what has happened.