Government okays 6-month pilot test for ‘Angkas’

The government has approved the pilot implementation of motorcycle taxi operations for six months in Metro Manila and Cebu starting in June.

In a statement Friday, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said he has approved the guidelines for the pilot implementation of motorcycle ride-hailing services such as Angkas, following its recommendation by a technical working group (TWG) created by the department to review the issue of allowing motorcycles as a form of public transportation.

The TWG included members from the Department of Transportation, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, the Land Transportation Office, the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group, the Metro Manila Development Authority, and representatives of the Senate, House of Representatives, commuter welfare groups, road safety advocates, motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle organizations and law schools.

“Our approval of the pilot implementation of the motorcycle taxi operations is proof that the government is listening to and addresses the woes, concerns and suggestions of our riding public,” Tugade said.

The DOTr created the TWG in December to draft general guidelines for the implementation of the pilot run.

The Transportation chief reminded motorcycle ride-hailing companies to strictly adhere to the safety requirements in their operations.

Among these requirements are the required wearing of safety gear like helmet, reflectorized vests, and vest-based strap or belt; compliance with the speed limit of 60 kilometers per hour; proper maintenance of their motorcycles and the wearing of the appropriate driver’s uniform.

Riders must render a maximum of 10 hours of service per day and accident insurance should be provided in an amount that is the same or higher than the Passenger Personal Accident Insurance Program for public utility vehicles.

Motorcycle taxis will have a fare of P50 for the first two kilometers, an additional P10 per kilometer until seven kilometers, additional P15 for each succeeding kilometer, and a surge rate cap of 1.5x in Metro Manila.

For Metro Cebu, the initial charge will be P20 for the first kilometer, an additional P20 per kilometer up to eight kilometers, and P20 per kilometer for destinations beyond eight kilometers.

Motorcycle taxis must only operate through their ride-hailing app platform. Comprehensive data should be submitted to the DOTr to include all incidents of road crash, passenger complaints, trip details and fares collected.

The transportation department has also set key performance indicators which include accident threshold, reporting of traffic violations and feedback from regular passengers.

“If the total number of major or minor accidents for the duration of the pilot run reaches 5 percent, we will call for an emergency [meeting of the] TWG, which will be followed up by an investigation and appropriate action which may or may not include the suspension of the pilot implementation,” the department statement said.

The implementation of the pilot run will serve as the basis for Senator JV Ejercito’s Senate Bill No. 2180, which will allow the use of motorcycles as public utility vehicles.

Angkas said it welcomed the decision of the DOTr to approve the pilot run of the motorcycle taxis and urged legislators to pass a measure allowing motorcycles to operate as a mode of public transportation.

“The pilot seeks to aid Congress in its efforts to legislate a proper motorcycle taxi bill, which is now undergoing revisions in the Senate. We hope that the Angkas pilot will serve to show legislators and regulators the viability of this mode of transport so we can fully pass it into a law,” said Angkas Chief Executive Officer Angeline Tham in a separate statement.

Motorcycles are currently prohibited from operating as public transport services under Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation Code.

In December 2018, the Supreme Court (SC) issued a temporary restraining order in favor of the DOTr and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) seeking to stop the operations of Angkas run by DBDOYC Inc.

The Court’s order voided a September 2018 ruling issued by the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court in favor of Angkas.

Angkas said the latest decision would bring back the livelihood of about 27,000 riders.

An opposition lawmaker on Friday hailed the government’s approval of motorcycle taxi operations, which he said would wipe out rampant extortion by crooked traffic enforcers.

“This will eradicate the daily and nearly systematic shakedown of motorcycle taxi drivers by crooked agents of the law,” said Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr.

“The reality is, both the driver and the consumer – the passenger – end up paying for this corruption by way of elevated fares,” Campos said.

Campos is the author of House Bill 8855 or the proposed Act Authorizing Motorcycle Taxi Operations.

The bill proposes to amend the 55-year-old Land Transportation and Traffic Code that forbids the use of motorcycles-for-hire in conveying both passengers and freight.

“We are counting on the next Congress to enact our bill, hopefully before the DOTr’s six-month trial run expires,” Campos said.

“Besides addressing the growing need for on-demand door-to-door public transportation, motorcycle taxis are already helping many Filipinos, including returning migrant workers and students, support themselves,” Campos said.

“Considering that motorcycle taxis have been mainstreamed by mobile ride-hailing applications, we might as well legalize their operations and set standards for drivers in order to protect the riding public,” Campos added. 

Topics: motorcycle taxi operations , Arthur Tugade , Department of Transportation , Angkas

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