The Philippine government has allowed the services of motorcycle ride-hailing apps like Angkas and Joyride to augment the limited public transportation amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Also approved is the resumption of the motorcycle taxi pilot study, which would be implemented and monitored by the National Task Force Against COVID-19 and the Department of Transportation," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement on Friday, October 23.
"This is good news because we can now use Angkas or Joyride," he said in an interview with state-run PTV.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is set to issue guidelines on the pilot study.
Previously, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) had endorsed the request of Metro Manila mayors to resume the motorcycle taxi pilot study which expired last April.
The pilot study allowed Angkas and JoyRide services to continue while lawmakers studied a bill that would legalize and regulate such services.
Motorcycle taxis are seen as an affordable alternative mode of transportation sorely needed given the passenger seating restrictions in trains, buses, and jeepneys to ensure physical distancing.
Calls for motorcycle taxis to resume operations grew as the government allowed more types of business establishments to reopen, putting more pressure on public transportation to answer the needs of a growing number of commuting workers.
Angkas presented a barrier between driver and backrider designed to protect them from COVID-19 transmission.
Backriding in motorcycles was previously limited to people from the same household. The government also initially required a barrier between the driver and backrider who lived together. The rule was eventually dropped after public ridicule. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.