Angkas to implement stricter safety rules for passengers as pilot run begins June

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 31) — Motorcycle-hailing app Angkas will be officially back on the streets in June, with authorities rolling out stricter guidelines for both riders and passengers.

"The Angkas or the apps company is required to train both the driver and the passenger on how to ride the motorcycle. We will be conducting first the information campaign for the passengers. It should happen quite soon, we should be ready in a week or so," Francis Almora, director of the Land Transportation Office (LTO), told CNN Philippines' The Source.

"There's already a training for the rider, but not all passengers know how to ride a motorcycle," he added.

Almora said they expect a "big impact" as far as easing Manila traffic is concerned.

The Department of Transportation has approved the return of Angkas and other motorcycle taxi services in May and set a six-month test run this June after banning the platform repeatedly in the past two years. Now, Angkas has teamed up with authorities for a technical working group (TWG) that will determine if the bike-hailing service is safe and should be legalized by Congress.

George Royeca, Angkas head of regulatory and public affairs, said they are preparing to roll out passenger training as they enter the pilot run next month.

"The idea is really to become a co-rider. It's the responsibility of both the passenger and the biker to make sure that the ride is safe," Royeca said also in The Source.

Royeca said they will soon roll out new vests for Angkas riders, which will have belts and straps for commuters to hold on to "for balance and control."

"The idea here is a lot of the passengers are embarrassed to hold the driver," he added.

Other safety measures for motorcycle passengers include not counter-steering when the vehicle is running, wearing appropriate clothing by avoiding skirts and even long shawls, and fastening the helmet properly. Royeca said the rule is to leave space for two fingers planted horizontally between one's chin and the helmet strap.

The LTO has also prohibited passengers from riding sideways on the motorcycle, saying it is much safer to ride facing front or cowboy-style. Commuters should also mount the bikes on the left side to avoid hitting the hot exhaust pipes on the opposite end.

Drivers will be required to run through the safety guidelines before a commuter boards the bike, Royeca said.

For the remainder of the year, Angkas' 27,000 drivers can now ferry passengers around Metro Manila and Cebu without fear of being flagged down. However, they would still have to follow 60-kilometer-per-hour speed limit.

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The flagdown rate for Metro Manila motorcycle taxis is ₱50. An additional ₱10 to ₱15 per km is charged for succeeding distances, with surge pricing capped at 1.5 times the basic rate. In Cebu, fares start at ₱20 for the first km. Destinations beyond that are charged ₱16 to ₱20 per km.

Royeca said they are expected to cater to 100,000 commuters in Metro Manila on a daily basis. Separately, Angkas has also conducted safety trainings and skill assessments on its drivers and their fleet.

"There are other groups that are waiting for the legalization. Let us be clear that this pilot implementation is part of the TWG activities. We’re not saying that it's already Angkas that is the motorcycle taxi," Almora said. "The TWG can recommend either to terminate the program or to extend the program."

The House of Representatives approved a bill in February legalizing "motorcycles-for-hire," which is now pending before the Senate with only a week of sessions left before the 17th Congress closes.