Senate panels approve bill legalizing motorcycle taxis

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Two Senate committees have approved a bill declaring motorcycle taxis as a legal mode of public transport, with majority of senators backing the measure. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 13) — Two Senate committees have approved a bill declaring motorcycle taxis as a legal mode of public transport, with majority of senators backing the measure, Senator Grace Poe said on Thursday.

Poe said 16 senators have signed the report of the committees on Public Services and Local Government to create the Motorcycles-for-Hire Act, which would make the services of companies like Angkas and JoyRide legal.

The bill defines motorcycles-for-hire as "any two-wheeled motor vehicle registered with the Land Transportation Office, which transports passengers and goods on a for-hire basis, and which may utilize online ride hailing or pre-arranged transportation platforms."

The measure specified that a motorcycle used for public transport must weigh less than 1,000 kilograms, can travel faster than 50 kilometers per hour, has a minimum engine displacement of 125 cubic centimeters, and have a backbone-type built. Drivers would also be required to secure a certificate of public convenience or a special permit from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) before serving the public.

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The approval comes weeks ahead of the expiry of a pilot run for motorcycle taxis, which allowed 63,000 units to serve commuters in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro until the pilot run ends on March 23. Only riders registered under Angkas, JoyRide, and Move It have been authorized to pick up and drop off passengers who book rides through mobile apps, which also set the fares.

The test run for motorcycle taxis have been hounded by several issues, with Angkas earlier questioning before the courts the LTFRB's decision to allow two new players to go live as well as a cap set on riders per service provider. These have been resolved and the court cases have been dropped.

The bill would still need to go through second and third reading approvals in the Senate. However, the measure already secured the needed support to get a majority vote in plenary.

The House of Representatives must also pass their version of the bill, which will then be harmonized with the Senate proposal before it is referred to the President's signing into law.

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