MMDA starts crackdown vs. ‘habal-habal’ riders

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority on Thursday launched a crackdown on riders, particularly those driving and operating habal-habal or illegal motorcycle-for-hire units.

This after the Department of Transportation tapped the MMDA to begin the campaign and apprehend erring riders and those driving motorcycle taxis illegally operating in Metro Manila.

MMDA general manager Jose Arturo Garcia Jr. said the agency will particularly apprehend riders not in the master list of three motorcycle ride-hailing mobile applications “Angkas”, “Joy Ride” and “Move It” included in the pilot study of the DOTr Technical Working Group being chaired by Antonio Gardiola Jr.

“Other ride-hailing apps like Sampa, Kandong, etc. which are not permitted to operate and therefore are all illegal. We will also be on the lookout against habal-habal riders and terminals,” said Garcia.

Garcia urged the public to report the locations of habal-habal terminals and report them to the MMDA through its social media accounts in Facebook and Twitter.

As to the procedures of apprehension, Garcia cited that traffic enforcers would check their driver’s license and verify the names in the master list. Those not included in the list will receive a citation ticket.

Gardiola has already turned over the master list which will be used as the traffic enforcers’ basis of apprehension.

“Names of riders not included in the master list will be apprehended as colorum and their motorcycle units will be impounded. Let us not abuse the government and make sure that riders are all legitimate,” said Garcia.

Gardiola said they received information that a firm have exceeded the overall cap allotted for it while other ride-hailing firms are not permitted to operate in the ongoing pilot test which will run until March.

He warned illegal ride-hailing firms caught with blatant violations could be blacklisted by the end of the study.

In Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, “motor taxis” are accepted as a practical mode of transportation which gets millions of people past gridlock. Owing to its slim form, motorbikes allow passengers to weave through traffic jams and navigate side-streets in ways that four-wheeled vehicles cannot.

In the Philippines, motorbike transportation is available in the form of habal-habal, most commonly found in the cities of Makati and Taguig. Yet habal-habal have no safety measures or standardized in place, so the issue of safety always remains a question in the minds of commuters.

Meanwhile, a total of 16 senators signed the Senate committees on public services and local government report allowing the use of motorcycle taxis to transport passengers all over the country.

Committee Report No. 46 of Senate Bill No. 1341  or The Motorcycles-for-Hire Act now classifies motorcycles-for-hire as among the public utility vehicles regulated by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

“We are inching closer to having a law that will make motorcycle taxis a part of our public transportation system,” Poe, head of the public services panel, said Poe.

Aside from Poe, the other authors of the bill are Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Imee Marcos, Juan Edgardo Angara, Joel Villanueva, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Francis Tolentino.

The bill defines motorcycles-for-hire as any two-wheeled motor vehicle registered with the Land Transportation Office, which transports passengers and goods on a for-hire basis, and which may utilize online ride hailing or pre-arranged transportation platforms.

The motorcycle shall weigh less than 1,000 kilograms, can travel faster than 50 kilometers per hour, has a minimum engine displacement of 125 cubic centimeters, and a backbone-type built.

Along with the vehicle registration, the motorcycles for hire shall secure a certificate of public convenience or a special permit issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

The motorcycle taxis fall under a classification of public utility automobiles along with public utility trucks, taxis and auto-calesas, garage automobiles, hire trucks and trucks owned by contractor and customs brokers and customs agents.

The bill seeks to amend a provision of Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

“We will continue looking for ways and means to improve the people’s mobility and assure their safety,” Poe said.

Topics: Metropolitan Manila Development Authority , habal-habal , Jose Arturo Garcia Jr.
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