Tricycles and Trials

Here now has come an end to a trend to the tricycle transport industry. The local government of Naga has finally gave permission to tricycle drivers to load more than one passenger; and by more than one, they mean two. Finally, if a person tries to wave a tricycle to catch a ride, he would have some glimmer of hope of that public transport vehicle stopping; even if it already had one passenger. This development increases the probability of getting a ride on those busy early evenings on downtown streets. Consequently, the 20 peso fare goes down to 15. That’s good news for the driver. One ride has the potential to shell 30 pesos from 20. I guess a ten peso increase isn’t bad. That’s good news for passengers who may get to save 5 pesos for a ride. In case you don’t get out that much to witness these changes, one passenger gets to keep his exclusive position inside the tricycle coach, while passenger no. 2 sits behind the driver. For so long a time, I have wanted to go backride. It’s just so much convenient there. In a nutshell, driver earns a little bit more, passenger gets to save some and mobility becomes a bit easier. One thing more, the police won’t have to bother catching violators anymore.

But what’s with the change now? What precedent motivated this consent? The way I understand it, tricycle passenger was limited to its singularity to prevent physical connectivity, in the supposition that physical contact would initiate infection. Now, the authorities seem to have realized that it’s safe to get close the tricycle driver’s back. Anyway, the driver would faced the other way, so his face and mouth would not come in contact with the passenger behind. But then, what if the driver sneezes while the tricycle is moving, would not the wind blow the virus to the commuter behind him? Oh, maybe that won’t happen since he presumably would be wearing his mask and shield. Locally, there has not been any significant decline in number of Covid-19 cases to warrant more lenient restrictions. Yes, they have started giving shots in U.K., Canada and the U.S., and I guess they’re about to start in Argentina, but in our context, those are mere news reports. If riding behind the driver is actually safe, why had it not been implemented earlier so that it could have aided an increase in income of the transport industry, lowered fare for passengers, and mobility made more manageable. (Puwede palan, tano ta ngunyan lang?) Don’t get me wrong; I like this. It would be beneficial for all parties. I suppose no backrider would get infected by sticking close to the driver’s back.

Along this direction, the President has given approval to face to face class trials. Wait, wait, before bored stiff students get their hopes up or worry warts vent out violent verses, the approval was given to a dry run in selected areas on the second week of January. Classes won’t go face to face at a snap of a finger, so you could hold on to those modules a little bit more. This face to face fancy fares along the same track as the tricycle passenger permission. Did I miss that big news of that sharp decline of local covid cases that we’re letting the kids out now? What I remember is the Metro Manila mayors unanimously agreeing to bar children from entering malls. Have we become too excited with the recent wave of first world nations initiating injection? Locally, we still don’t have that concrete privilege; and the Covid data are not diving down. So, if the President declared, “no vaccine, no face to face classes” months ago, situations have not become any better now. As a matter of fact, a number of public school teachers have just recently tested positive to the virus. Furthermore, there would be a probable spike in the wave after the get-togethers in the Christmas parties which offices are discreetly masking, when what they should be covering are their faces, not this mass gatherings of unavoidable social proximity. But tradition will find its way to seep through the cracks even if you try trampling it down.

To uncover plausible misconceptions, a considerable number of parents are actually looking forward to the resumption of the old-fashioned face to face classes. Some parents simply find it difficult to manage the modular activities at home, given their work schedules. Some mothers with three or more children to teach have had their laundry pile up because she had to assist them all. If you’re wondering why I’m only talking about modules and not so much about online classes, you may have forgotten about the typhoons that twisted and cut the cables. Yes we want to go back to the more convenient conventional normal, send the kids to classes, hitch a ride with someone else and throw parties here and there, but let’s do it with safety with certainty.

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” Psalm 4:8