Drivers of xich lo (cyclos or pedicabs), a favourite form of transport in the UNESCO-declared World Heritage site of Hoi An in central Vietnam, are doing quite well these days. Earning up to US$400-500 per month, they have been able to send their children to school and support their families.
Cyclo drivers in Hoi An earn a respectable living after forming union
Phan Phuoc Tung, head of the union, says that before 2002 there were only 50 pedicabs in the ancient town. At the time, the service was not professional and received many complaints from passengers.Cyclo drivers in Hoi An earn a respectable living after forming union
In 2003, the city’s authorities approved the establishment of a Cultural Pedicab Labour Union with 102 pedicabs, under which riders are positioned at five pick-up places and work in shifts. This arrangement ensures efficiency and equality of opportunity.
“Since then, there has been no fighting for passengers and jealousy about different incomes,” said Tung, who has worked in the business for nearly 14 years.
The union of cyclo riders
Each cyclo has a number and the drivers wear a T-shirt uniform. Passengers who forget their personal property can easily find it by reporting their losses to the pedicab union.
Besides learning basic English, drivers are not allowed to solicit tourists or charge extra fees.Cyclo drivers in Hoi An earn a respectable living after forming union
Nguyen Tu, 62, who began working as a driver 19 years ago, has up to five or six rides a day during holidays or peak seasons.
Over the last 10 years, he has earned VND9 to VND10 million ($400-450) per month, enabling him to bring up his five children.
Four generations of Tu’s family have been cyclo drivers, including his grandfather.