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MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) approved pilot operations of motorcycle taxis for 6 months in a bid to study further the legalization of the service.
In a statement early Friday, May 10, the DOTr said they issued a guideline on the pilot implementation, which was signed by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Wednesday, May 8.
“Patunay ito na nakikinig ang gobyerno sa publiko. Patunay ito na bukas ang aming mga isip. Noong Disyembre ay inatasan natin ang pagbuo ng TWG (technical working group), at itong general guidelines ang bunga ng mga pagpupulong na iyon,” Tugade said.
(This is proof that the government listens to the public. This is proof that we are open-minded. In December, we ordered the creation of a TWG, and these general guidelines are the result of those discussions.)
Based on the document, the service will be rolled out in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu one month after the secretary’s approval, or on June 8.
The DOTr has set the fare that motorcycle taxis should charge, as well as safety requirements that should be provided by the drivers or operators.
The pilot operations should run on a ride-hailing app, according to the guidelines.
The DOTr said the data that will be collected from the pilot operations will be used when drafting the bill on legalizing motorcycle taxis. The pilot implementation will be done in partnership with motorcycle ride-hailing firm Angkas.
Currently, Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code does not allow motorcycles to be used for hire or for transport. This is the reason why Angkas has been facing legal hurdles in its operations. (READ: Why Angkas is illegal)
For the pilot implementation, the DOTr has set the fare for the two areas.
In Metro Manila, P50 is the base fare for the first two kilometers (km) of the ride. An additional P10/km will be charged for succeeding kilometers up to 7 km. Beyond 7 km, there will be an additional charge of P15/km.
In Metro Cebu, the base fare for the first kilometer is much cheaper at P20, but the additional charge up to the succeeding 8 km will be P16/km. Beyond 8 km, there will be an additional charge of P20/km.
The DOTr will also impose a surge cap of 1.5 times the fare.
The DOTr has given the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board the power to change the fare matrix or to revise the surge cap.
Meanwhile, below are the safety requirements included in the guidelines:
- Wear safety gear like helmet, reflectorized vest, and vest-based strap or belt.
- Follow the speed limit at 60 km per hour.
- Maintain the motorcycle in mint condition.
- For drivers, wear a “uniform.”
The DOTr said that riders should not drive for more than 10 hours. They are also asking for operators to have an accident insurance.
Legalization up next?
The DOTr said that certain key performance indicators were set by the department in studying the viability of motorcycle taxis for transport.
The accident threshold was set at 5% of the total rides. If this figure is met, the TWG will conduct an emergency meeting to investigate the situation and decide whether to suspend the pilot operations.
The DOTr will also look into violations of traffic policies, as well as commuter feedback.
Senators earlier urged the DOTr to just issue a department order that will allow the operation of motorcycle taxis for hired transport, similar to what they did to ride-hailing apps Grab and Uber before.
In December 2018, the DOTr created the TWG to flesh out these issues but maintained that there is a need to amend the Land Transportation and Traffic Code or pass another law that would allow such.
In the 17th Congress, the House of Representatives passed on 3rd and final reading House Bill 8959 or the Motorcycles-for-Hire Act. Its counterpart measure in the Senate, Senate Bill 2180, already passed the committee level.
The DOTr said the safety of passengers is the top priority during this test run. (READ: Habal-habal: Understanding the true cost of a cheap ride)
“Pangunahing responsibilidad natin ang kaligtasan ng publiko. Kaya kapag pumalya kayo sa pamantayan natin, we will not have second thoughts on halting the pilot implementation,“ Tugade said.
(Our primary responsibility is the safety of the public. If you fail our standards, we will not have second thoughts on halting the pilot implementation.)
Angkas has gained popularity among the commuting public as a “cheap and fast” transport service amid the constant gridlock in Metro Manila roads. – Rappler.com