In Ozamiz City, the Philippines, pedicabs—three-wheeled, pedal-powered taxis propelled only by the energy of a single driver—provide much-needed transportation. Pedicab drivers rent their taxis and often pay half of their daily fares in rent. Since many of the drivers are the sole economic support of their families, they work extremely long days in hot and humid conditions to ensure that they earn enough fares to pay the rent on the pedicab and have some income to take home.
Columban Fr. Oliver McCrossan recognized that pedicab drivers were unfairly burdened by the rents due for use of the pedicabs. In 2006, he launched the “Pedaling to Live” program, which provides pedicabs to drivers in a rent-toown, interest-free agreement, allowing them to make payments to purchase their taxis for less than the daily rental fee.
Drivers make payments for 18 months and then own their pedicabs free and clear. Their loan repayments are used to purchase more pedicabs for more drivers.
Since the launch of the project, more than 42 drivers have paid off their pedicabs, and 20 more are in the process of doing so. The drivers now enjoy a better standard of living and are not subject to the whims of the pedicab owners. They have seized the opportunity to become their own bosses and are helping others do the same.
“Pedaling to Live” also offers a health clinic for the families of the drivers to help alleviate the physical toll of poverty, accident insurance for the program participants, and a scholarship program for the children of the drivers, providing the next generation with the education necessary to escape poverty.