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Tuk Tuk – A Social Cancer

Industrialists and businesses are having a critical HR issue in Sri Lanka due to the lack of trained professionals entering the job market/workforce.

It’s a known fact that Three wheelers and small lorries of owner-drivers create a massive negative impact in building skilled workers which is the lifeblood of any developing nation. Sad to see even the parents and the public are responsible for this by funding them for three-wheelers and lorries.

Just after O/L s and even after A/L they think running a small Tuk-tuk or a Batta on their own will give them liberty in money and life. But it’s too late when they identify the real story, which is largely contributed by the Banks, sellers of these vehicles, and the community.

The government should ban this menace since industrialists do not have enough professionals for most trades available for the age group of 20 to 30.
Some jobs are available in plenty and we all know their wages before they hit their 25th year of life, after a technical college training + two-year experience.
Machine operator – 40,000+, Mechanic – 50,000+, Construction worker – 40,000+, Heavy vehicle driver – 50,000+ and growing!

Tuk-tuk drivers don’t get this much but it’s too late when they know their destiny as tuk-tuk drivers. Here is the problem, we need plans to educate the school leavers and shift them towards technical and business education.

Once one enters into the technical or business streams they need to have mid-career training as well, enabling carrier growth, which is not a need or want for the self-employed Tuk-tuk or Batta fellows.
Following is an action plan, which could be used.

The ultimatum is a complete ban of Tuks from our roads, which makes other drivers too undisciplined. Until then here are a few actions the government can enable with immediate effect.

  • Prohibit driving a taxi or light lorry for hiring purposes by anyone below 35, this is in practice in many countries.
  • Banks, Not to grant loans or leases to individuals for three-wheelers and light trucks if their source of income is by hiring it.
  • The public needs to be educated about not traveling by three-wheelers due to the social and developmental issues it creates.
  • Limiting tuk tuks to Secondary/Minor Roads (C & D).
  • A voluntary action which can easily be taken by all of us, let’s walk or take the bus, it’s safer, healthier and environmentally friendly too. Practicality is still an issue but it’s coming with the bus lanes and also the cycle lanes as well. Even the growing online taxis and ridesharing platforms should be able to minimize the use and the need for tuk-tuks.
This is just one of the curses of the TUKs!

Post Covid Mobility

EDIT: This has been written pre Covid times and the need for mobility has been drastically changed to ward new mobility strategies and modes. The need for Tuks has been reduced greatly since then and it’s no more a profitable or viable job in Sri Lanka!

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