Motorcycle taxi service may get six-month extension as new players eyed

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 10) – More companies may operate and join ride-hailing company Angkas as the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) technical working group expressed its willingness to give a six-month extension to the motorcycle taxi service pilot run.

“The inter-agency TWG on motorcycle taxis is considering a six-month extension of the Motorcycle Taxi Pilot Implementation to allow the participation of new players in the study,” the DOTr said in a statement released Tuesday.

“The DOTr heard proposals on November 20, 2019 from six motorcycle taxi companies, namely, Citimuber, JoyRide, MoveIt, EsetGo, Sakay, and VroomGo, all aspiring to participate in the pilot run being considered,” Antonio B. Gardiola Jr., who heads the TWG, said Tuesday.

Gardiola explained that the extension is meant to provide the commuting public with more choices, and “thus push the multiple providers to ensure a higher standard of service.”

He added that the pilot run also seeks to give time to TWG, which is composed of members that include representatives from the DOTr, LTFRB, Land Transportation Office (LTO), and the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic, to widen the scope of their study on appropriate standards and capacities for motorcycles to be considered safe, convenient, and eligible for franchise:

“We also want to determine whether or not motorcycles are really a safe and viable form of public transportation. That is always our priority — the safety, security, and comfort of the riding public.”

The DOTr said a decision on the proposed extension will be released in the coming days.

The test run, which covers all motorcycle taxis in Metro Manila and Cebu City, was originally set to end on December 26 this year. Angkas was the lone two-wheeled transportation service provider at that time. The pilot test’s implementation is meant to guide legislators as they deliberate pertinent and pending bills on motorcycles-for-hire.

Under the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, only four-wheeled vehicles such as trucks could register with LTO to legally transport passengers and goods.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board shut down Angkas in November 2017, citing the company’s lack of permit to operate. But Angkas challenged transport regulators’ order before the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court, which later issued a preliminary injunction against the government shutdown.

Just a couple of months after Angkas resumed operations, the Supreme Court issued in December 2018 a temporary restraining order against the Mandaluyong court decision, which meant transport regulators can again apprehend violating motorcycle units.

But due to the riding public’s clamor, the DOTr let motorcycles-for-hire to operate for six months, which was approved in aid of legislation in June.