MMDA wants to ban motorcycle taxis on major roads

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More Angkas motorcycles may be available starting today after another service provider failed to maximize the cap on drivers in Metro Manila. However, a new proposal could limit the routes they can take.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 13) — Transport authorities said they are looking to ban motorcycle taxis from plying major roads in Metro Manila once their operations are legalized.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority General Manager Jojo Garcia appealed to lawmakers and the technical working group or TWG handling the motorcycle taxi pilot study to prohibit these two-wheeled vehicles from circumferential and radial roads for safety reasons.

"Hindi mo pwedeng isabay 'yan sa bus. Kung ang tricycle na tatlo ang gulong, bawal sa national road, lalo na ang mga motorcycle taxi," Garcia said during a press briefing on Thursday.

[Translation: You can't let those motorcycle taxis share the road with buses. We don't allow tricycles which are more stable with three wheels on national roads, all the more for motorcycles.]

Senate Committee on Public Services Chairman Grace Poe said that 16 senators have signed a report that consolidates proposals to legalize motorcycle taxis as public transport in the country, which puts the measure a step closer to becoming a law.

Garcia's pitch would mean that motorcycle drivers accepting passengers through a regulated booking service or mobile app cannot pass through the C-1 to C-6 roads and R-1 to R-10 roads, which include portions of Epifanio delos Santos Avenue or EDSA, Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, and Roxas Boulevard in Manila.

"Mas maiiwasan ang aksidente kung nasa inner roads lang sila [There are smaller chances of accidents if they just use the inner roads]," he added.

TWG head Antonio Gardiola Jr. said separately that they are looking to require passengers to wear elbow and knee caps for protection. However, Garcia said this would only be useful for minor accidents to prevent bruises.

Gardiola also reminded commuters to hold the grip belts which riders would be wearing behind the waist, saying that holding the back of the motorcycle is riskier as it creates "imbalance" while on the move.

More Angkas riders

Commuters in Metro Manila can also expect more Angkas drivers to be available for bookings, with authorities saying that the company is set to take rider slots unused by its competitors.

Registration of motorcycle taxi drivers for the three accredited providers ended on Wednesday, with Move It only taking 6,836 of the 15,000 slots allotted to it.

"Effective today, the unused cap will be redistributed for those ready providers," Gardiola said. Angkas registered 20,000 drivers to the TWG while JoyRide gave 15,000 names, the latter matching the original limit.

This will stand until the pilot run for motorcycle taxis — which allowed 63,000 units to serve commuters in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro — ends on March 23. Of these 45,000 will serve Metro Manila.

Angkas once took the TWG to court allowing two new players to enter the market and for putting a limit on drivers on the road. The charges have been dropped after some discussions, Angkas said. Officials earlier threatened to cut short the pilot test and blacklist the player.

Crackdown on colorum motorbikes

The MMDA said its forces have been actively flagging down colorum or habal-habal drivers, as well as motorcycle taxi companies who have started operations even if they are not part of the TWG trial run.

Garcia said among those who have been apprehended are called Sampa and i-SABAY, as well as individual drivers who book rides and charge fares on their own. He added that the two platforms could be blacklisted, and may not be allowed to serve commuters if a law is passed legalizing motorcycle taxis.

He said passengers who get injured while riding colorum vehicles would not be covered by the motorcycle's insurance.

The MMDA said it is also eyeing to impound unregistered motorcycles for hire.