Angkas asks motorcycle taxi technical working group to reimpose surge fees

Loreben Tuquero
Angkas asks motorcycle taxi technical working group to reimpose surge fees
The dynamic pricing incentivizes bikers to serve passengers during peak hours, says Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca

MANILA, Philippines – Weeks after the motorcycle taxi pilot run technical working group (TWG) disallowed providers from charging surge fees, Angkas is now asking the regulators to consider enabling dynamic pricing to augment biker supply.

When the motorcycle taxi pilot run was extended in December 2019, the TWG implemented a revised set of guidelines that revoked the 1.5x surge cap. 

On Wednesday, January 8, Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca explained that the 1.5x dynamic pricing that Angkas has been imposing is meant to incentivize bikers to serve passengers during peak hours. 

He said a lot of Angkas bikers only work part-time, and the surge is an “automatic incentive” for them to go out on the roads when the demand is higher.

The new guidelines also imposed a 13,000-biker cap for each motorcycle taxi provider – 10,000 for Metro Manila and 3,000 for Metro Cebu. As a result, the initial 27,000-biker fleet of Angkas would lose up to 17,000 bikers because of the new cap.

Royeca then pointed out that the surge and the biker cap should complement each other.

“If you don’t want dynamic pricing, then you relax on the cap so that you have more bikers on the road. If you want to lower the cap, then you need to be more lenient on the dynamic pricing, so that you incentivize the bikers to go out on the road at the right time, when they are needed,” Royeca said.

Royeca added that if charging surge fees is prohibited along with a biker cap, it would affect the booking capability of the riding public. 

I’m afraid if you put the cap, if you take out the dynamic pricing, medyo dun po talagang masusupress po natin ‘yung ating supply (that’s when the supply will be suppressed). The public may find out that it may be a bit more difficult to book when they need to,” he said.

Thus, Royeca said he will be filing a formal request with the TWG to consider reimposing the 1.5x surge cap.

“I think my preference, based on experience, is to have it there, and play around with the multiples. I will make a formal request when we start conducting the actual study already, when the dust settles, or maybe as early as now… But [we] can play around with it, again we’re conducting a study so hopefully we’ll all be open-minded in reference to that,” Royeca said in a mix of English and Filipino.

The TWG gave the 3 motorcycle taxi firms – Angkas, JoyRide, and Move It – until January 17 to reach the 10,000-biker cap for Metro Manila and 3,000 for Metro Cebu. 

At the very least, Royeca said, the TWG could allow Angkas a transition period since it was the first provider to take part in the motorcycle taxi pilot implementation.

Humihingi po kami ng pasensya sa LTFRB, sana po bigyan po ng transition si Angkas, we’re not asking for special favors, pero nauna naman po talaga si Angkas, running for 6 months eh. So we really hope there’s a transition period on how we transition our fleet to the new guidelines,” he said.

(We are asking for the LTFRB’s patience, we hope that you give Angkas a transition period. We’re not asking for special favors, but we really did come first and operated for 6 months already. So we really hope there’s a transition period on how we transition our fleet to the new guidelines.) 

The TWG earlier called out Angkas for continuing to charge surge fees despite it being prohibited by the pilot run guidelines.

Royeca said they will be complying with the no-surge rule as early as January 8. – Rappler.com

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Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.