Motorcycle taxis not yet banned as pilot run continues – DOTr

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 21)— Heads up, commuters!

Motorcycle taxis will still be allowed to ply the roads of the metro as the Transport Department’s pilot program stays for now, a top official of the technical working group (TWG) told CNN Philippines Tuesday.

“Itutuloy po natin ‘yan (we will continue it), but then we will come up with guidelines, we will talk to the providers with guidance of the (Transport) Secretary,” Antonio Gardiola, chairman of the group studying the legality of motorcycles-for-hire, said in an interview with The Source.

Gardiola earlier said transport officials would have to terminate the test run and declare motorcycle taxis as “illegal,” as they had not gathered sufficient data on their safety, despite the study’s three-month extension. The move drew flak not only from affected stakeholders, but also from netizens and lawmakers.

Gardiola said the group made the decision upon taking into consideration the sentiments of senators.

“With the recent developments during the Senate hearing, the sentiment of the senators is to continue the study,” the chairman said. “It was the sentiments... of course I understand the need of the commuters as an alternative mode, I understand that."

Members of the Senate public services committee, particularly chair Grace Poe, took a swipe at the TWG after the latter initially recommended the ban on motorcycle taxis.

Poe said Congress cannot be pressured into passing a measure just because of the group’s "inability to get data." She added the vehicles have been seen as the most viable transportation alternative for daily commuters.

With the ban held off, the senator hopes the concerned agencies will devote "adequate time and effort" to thoroughly study the viability and safety of this mode of transportation.

"The continuation of the pilot operation of (the) motorcycle taxi is a triumph for commuters in need of alternative mode of transportation," Poe said in a statement.

"We hope the concerned agencies will devote adequate time and effort to thoroughly study its viability and safety, and come up with a comprehensive report that could aid Congress in legislating appropriate law," she added.

Technical working group to meet with motor taxi providers

Transport officials are also set to meet with representatives of the motorcycle taxi providers — Angkas, JoyRide, and Move It — on Tuesday afternoon to go over the guidelines of the pilot program.

“I've already talked with the DOTr (Department of Transportation), we will have a meeting with the providers, I think this afternoon, para ma-thresh out namin kung ano ang dapat gawin (so we can thresh out what we need to do) if this will push through,” Gardiola said.

Both Angkas and JoyRide meanwhile welcomed the group’s latest decision, adding the companies are open to talks with transport officials regarding the rules of the study.

Angkas, for its part, also hopes the TWG’s “blacklist” recommendation against its services won’t push through.

“This blacklist is something that can be avoided. I don't believe we're grossly defiant,” Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca told CNN Philippines.

“Hopefully, kasama kami sa pagtuloy ng pilot run (we’re still included in the continuation of the pilot run).”

The government’s pilot program was launched in 2019 to guide legislators as they tackle the viability of motorcycle taxis.

Under the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, only four-wheeled vehicles can register with the Land Transportation Office to transport passengers and goods.

CNN Philippines’ Alyssa Rola and Melissa Lopez contributed to this report.