Senator Grace Poe said she is supporting a law legalizing and regulating the country’s motorcycle taxis that would ensure the safety of riders and passengers and minimize the number of accidents.
This is amid concerns about the viability of motorcycles-for-hire as a mode of public transportation.
The joint hearing of the Senate Public Services and Local Government committees on the legalization of motorcycle taxis highlighted the training and skills of those operating motorcycles to ensure the safety of their passengers.
“We need to legalize to reflect the reality on the ground but we also need the highest safety standards to make this a true mobility alternative,” Poe said.
Poe, chair of the public services panel also said “The established vulnerability of motorcycles as a mode of transportation calls for the government to step in.”
In the hearing, Angkas, JoyRide and Move It—companies that were allowed to operate under the three-year-old pilot program approved by the government —were grilled on the safety training they provide to their drivers.
In particular, Sen. Raffy Tulfo aired concern about the number of accidents involving Angkas, the market leader holding 30,000 slots out of 45,000 available under the pilot program.
He said Angkas has figured out that in 7,500 accidents in 2022 alone, there were more than double the recorded 3,069 accidents in 2021.
In case of accidents, Tulfo said operators should pay for the medical expenses of a victim. “They have to pay for everything.”
Poe pressed motorcycle taxi companies representatives to provide details of the training they provided their drivers and other steps
to ensure passenger safety.
Grab Senior Executive Vice President Lim Yew Heng said in the countries where they operate—Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia—Grab uses technology to monitor the behavior and driving skills of their drivers on top of the safety and proper training for Grab drivers. They also
use technology to track drivers’ safety performance and trigger more trainings.
Angkas and Move It said that they employ similar technology to monitor their drivers.
But Angkas CEO George Royeca said. they have a command center and added that “we have marshals all over.”
“In JoyRide, we have marshals going around Metro Manila. That’s24/7.There are groups which JoyRide bikers don’t know they were being observed,” said JoyRide Vice President Rico Meneses.
In a letter to the Senate panels, Lim said Grab’s safety rating in Southeast Asia is 99.9%, proving that motorcycle taxis can be indeed
safe, efficient and reliable.
Grab, he said, “prioritizes safety through rigorous driver screening, training, real-time tracking and comprehensive insurance” and strives
“to continuously improve safety practices and collaborate with regulators to establish guidelines that enhance safety standards for
all stakeholders involved in motorcycle taxi operations.”
“By leveraging on our experiences in neighboring Southeast Asian countries, we believe we can collectively chart a path towards a
sustainable and thriving motorcycle taxi industry in the Philippines,” Lim said.