MANILA, Philippines – For many Filipinos, commuting is an ordeal they go through every day.
According to a study, the Philippines may lose up to P6 billion a day by 2030 because of worsening traffic jams.
When the motorcycle ride-hailing app Angkas broke into the market, many commuters took the opportunity to beat the traffic. As the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ordered its closure, app users were not too happy and explained why it mattered to them.
‘It saves time’
According to commuter Bianca Dalisay, Angkas helped her save time, cutting her usual 3 to 4 hours of travel.
“Kagalang-galang na LTFRB, ako po ay isa sa libo-libong commuters na nauubos ang oras sa pagbiyahe dahil sa walang katapusang traffic o kundi naman ay sa mala blockbuster na pila ng mga pasahero sa MRT,” she said in a Facebook post.
(LTFRB, I am one of the thousands of commuters whose time is wasted in travel due to the endless traffic or the MRT passenger lines that approximate those of blockbuster movies.)
Dalisay said she had to wake up at 4 am to avoid being late for her 8 am job in Makati City.
“Bakit? Ina-anticipate ko ang posibilidad na pagkatapos kong pumila ng napakatagal sa MRT ay ang magkaroon ng aberya sa kalagitnaan ng biyahe. Ganun din, ang traffic na susuungin bago pa makarating sa aking destinasyon. Hindi po namin puwedeng idahilan sa trabaho ang traffic at sirang MRT kaya kami na-late,” she said. (READ: MRT woes: How often do they happen?)
(Why? Because I anticipate the possibility that after lining up for a long time at the MRT, there could be a glitch in the middle of the trip. [I also take into account] the traffic that I have to brave on the way to my destination. I can’t cite as a reason for being late at work traffic and the MRT glitches.)
She said the app has saved her from being on the road for too long.
“Sa pagpasok ni Angkas, laking tulong at ginhawa sa aming mga pasahero ang naibigay nito. Hindi na po namin kailangang umalis ng bahay nang sobrang aga at nakakauwi na rin kami sa aming mga pamilya nang mas maaga at may oras pa kaming makipag-bonding sa kanila,” she added.
(When Angkas came, it brought us passengers huge relief and convenience. We don’t have to leave the house too early. We can now come home earlier to our families and have the time to bond with them.)
‘You can count on it’
Many users have found Angkas truly convenient.
It helped riders like Juliane Paulene Laguilles who needed to get to the airport on time. In a post, she said it saved her last August from Manila’s hellish traffic.
Pan Cho, another Angkas patron, said that he had to beat time to get money for his late mother’s funeral services in March.
Cho said the insurance company told him he had to get to their office and get the money before they closed. Since the company was releasing a check, he had to get to the bank on time to have the check cleared and pay the funeral home also on time.
“In short, lumabas ako sa insurance nang mangiyak-ngiyak at laking pasasalamat ko sa rider/Angkas app. Laking ginhawa lang na yung biyahe ko, buong kumpyansa ko na aabot ako nang 1 pm na hindi nag-aalala sa traffic at hindi nahihirapan pa mag-commute,” he said.
(In short, I left the insurance (company) teary-eyed and grateful to the rider and Angkas app. It was a relief that I could be confident I would get there by 1 pm without worrying about the traffic and the long commute.)
The service has also helped improve the lives of some bikers. Roderick Manabat is one of them.
In a Facebook post, he said that his earnings have allowed him to sustain his family.
“Salamat laging naka-ngiti misis ko dahil may inaabot ako na pangtustos sa mga gastusin….Salamat dahil nakakatulog na ‘ko nang mahimbing dahil may budget para bukas,” he said.
(I am grateful because my wife is happy when I hand her money for our expenses. I am grateful because I can now sleep soundly because we have enough money budgeted for the next day.)
Angkas operations manager Menard Umali said he was “proud” that the app has had a direct impact on the lives of drivers and passengers.
In a Facebook post, he said he met Ferd Llaguno, a working student who recently graduated with a degree in Criminology in Cebu. According to Umali, Llaguno dropped by their office to give his thanks.
“Because of his Angkas driving, he dreams of being able to get his transcript of records and eventually take his board exam. A minimum wage job will not do, as this will not be enough to support a family and pay off debts,” he said in a post.
“He is one of many that Angkas is able to help in achieving their dreams. One day, he dreams of passing the board exam and who knows where his dreams will take him,” he added.
On November 9, the LTFRB ruled that the services offered by the ride-hailing app are illegal. (READ: Why Angkas is illegal)
According to Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, motorcycles can only be registered as private or government vehicles.
Hence, they can’t be used by their owners to make money. The only way for Angkas to operate legally is to amend the law. (READ: LTFRB tells Grab, Uber: ‘We will not succumb to pressure’)
Angkas has since said they are open to regulation. – Rappler.com