Angkas is back: DOTr approves motorcycle taxi operations

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Motorcycle taxis are now legally authorized to operate in the country beginning the first week of June.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 10)— Motorcycle taxis are now legally authorized to operate in the country for a six-month test run beginning the first week of June.

After several months of public clamor, motorcycle riders who are part of ride-hailing company Angkas can start picking up passengers again without fear of apprehension.

Transportation officials have given the green light to implement the pilot run of motorcycle taxis in Metro Manila and Cebu City from June until the end of the year.

This is welcome news to over 27,000 motorcycle units under Angkas, whose operations have been stopped a number of times since 2017.

However, the implementation is just a test run for six months to aid legislators as they finalize pertinent bills on motorcycle taxis.

Mariin naming binabalaan ang mga ride-hailing service na sumunod sa safety requirements sa kanilang operasyon. Huwag ninyong sayangin ang tiwalang ipinagkaloob namin sa inyo… (We are giving ride-hailing services stern warning to follow safety requirements in their operations. They should not waste the trust that we have given them.)” Transportation Secretary Art Tugade said in a statement.

Angkas welcomed the Transportation Department's decision.

"We are very happy that Secretary Tugade is looking into this...We will definitely provide all the necessary updates on the application and also on the information campaign to the public," said George Royeca, Angkas regulatory and public affairs head.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board shut down Angkas in November 2017, saying the company has no business permit. The agency also maintained motorcycles are not among the type of vehicles which may be considered for public transport under the country’s Land Transportation Code.

Angkas challenged transport regulators’ order before the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court, which later issued a preliminary injunction against the government shutdown.

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

Fare Matrix

The flag down rate for Metro Manila motorcycle taxis is ₱50. An additional ₱10 to ₱15 per kilometer is charged for succeeding distances.

Motorcycle units in Metro Manila are also entitled to dynamic pricing with 1.5x surge cap.

For ride-hailing motorcycles in Cebu, fares start at ₱20 for the first kilometer. Destinations beyond that are charged ₱16 to ₱20 per kilometer.

Mark de Leon, DOTr Undersecretary for Road Transport, said the fare matrix is based on Angkas’ existing rates but will also be studied during the pilot run.

“We will evaluate if these fare rates are already just or if they can be lowered or adjusted to rates different from what is being proposed by Angkas,” he told CNN Philippines' New Day.

Stringent Safety Measures

Motorcycle taxis are mandated to follow safety rules. Both riders and passengers should wear reflectorized helmets.

Riders are also required to don a reflectorized vest and body strap or belt that passengers can hold on to during the trip. They should also wear their ID and proper uniform bearing the motorcycle taxi brand.

The maximum allowable speed is 60 kilometers per hour.

Ride-hailing companies are also required to submit monthly data on passenger complaints and road crashes involving their motorbikes. The technical working group under the DOTr will monitor the road crashes and violations through an online monitoring system with Angkas, De Leon added.

“After the expiration of the six-month pilot implementation period, all the results and data collected should then be the subject of a study in order to determine whether or not motorcycle taxis could be considered as an alternative mode of transportation,” a DOTr memorandum explains.

However, the pilot run can be terminated before the six-month period expires, De Leon said, if there have been too many casualties that resulted from the implementation.

While the pilot run covers all motorcycle taxis, Angkas is, so far, the only motorcycle ride-hailing company operating in the Philippine market.