IATF releases guidelines on motorcycle taxi operations

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 9) – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) approved last week the guidelines for the resumption of motorcycle taxi operations.

National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Vince Dizon reported the IATF-MEID's approval of the guidelines on Monday which aims to protect the health and safety of the passengers during the pandemic.

"Napaka-importante nito dahil habang tumatagal ay kailangan na nating paandarin ang ating ekonomiya at ang napaka-kritikal na factor dito ay ang public transport," Dizon said. "Importante na mabigyan natin ng options ang ating mga kababayan na bumalik sa kanilang trabaho."

[Translation: This is very important because we really need to reopen our economy and one critical factor for this is public transport. It is important that we can give the people options when returning to their workplaces.]

Among the salient points in the guidelines is the implementation of full cashless payment in motorcycle taxi transactions to further minimize human contact.

Passengers are also now required to bring their own helmet with a visor when riding a motorcycle taxi. The visor will act as the passenger's face shield for their protection against the virus.

"Kailangan hindi lang supply ng transportation ang ibibigay natin, dapat ay siguraduhin natin na safe at hindi makokompromiso ang ating standard at guidelines sa pagpigil ng COVID-19 transmission sa paggamit ng motorcycle taxis at iba pang mode of public transport," Dizon added.

[Translation: We must not only provide enough supply of public transport. We must also ensure that our standard and guidelines to prevent COVID-19 transmission will not be compromised when using motorcycle taxis and other modes of public transport.]

The IATF-MEID previously mandated motorcycle taxi bikers to install barriers with specifications approved by the task force.

Transportation Assistant Secretary and Land Transportation Office chief Edgar Galvante reminded bikers to have their own professional driver's license to allow them to accept passengers.

Galvante added the technical working group looking on the motorcycle taxi operations in the pandemic will meet again next week to discuss the approved guidelines with operators Angkas, JoyRide, and Move It. The group is looking at Metro Manila, Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro where they can resume the motorcycle taxi pilot study.

"Para matiyak natin na nagkakaintindihan tayo doon sa pamantayan sa standard, when they say they are already compliant with this, we will immediately set the start of the pilot study," Galvante said in the same briefing.

[Translation: We need to make sure the players also understand the standard. When they say they are already compliant with this, we will immediately set the start of the pilot study.]

Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca assured that the motorcycle taxi company is compliant with the government's guidelines. He added that at least 3,000 of their bikers tested negative in a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test.

"Angkas is ready. We will submit all our compliant requirements and hopefully we (technical working group) can convene and start the discussion," said Royeca, who is also present at the briefing.

JoyRide and Move It have yet to release their statement on the matter.

The IATF-MEID approved on Oct. 23 the resumption of pilot study on motorcycle taxis, which ended in April but got suspended in March due to the imposition of community quarantine in the country. The government started the pilot run on the use of motorcycle taxis last year over concerns about safety and the service's viability.