In this day and age, commuters trying to cope with often impossible traffic conditions in the Philippines, particularly the metropolitan areas, are increasingly turning to a development from overseas, the ride-hailing service. With the use of a mobile phone app, they can contact a service company to send over a vehicle driven by private owners who are part of that service. Despite protests from taxi operators and transport regulators, many such companies continue on, from Uber to Lyft to Asian-based Grab Taxi. But not all of them are that resilient, as in the case of Filipino motorcycle ride-sharing service Angkas.
CNN Philippines reports that the Supreme Court of the Philippines has granted on Wednesday, October 12, the temporary restraining order asked for by petition from both the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), that would halt an earlier court ruling made in August that allowed Angkas, a ride-hailing service using motorcycles and scooters, to operate without further regulatory hurdles from the government. That decision, a preliminary injunction from Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court Branch 213, in turn was made after an earlier shutdown of the Angkas service by the agencies involved back in November 2017.
The prevailing reasoning by the LTFRB and DOTr to stop pedestrians from using the Angkas service app was due to the company lacking business permits, as well as their interpretation of Republic Act 4136 in that Angkas ride-hail motorcycles are not authorized to conduct business and offer public transport. They have issued a joint statement praising the new SC ruling, which would allow them to arrest Angkas riders taking on passengers via the app. It added that their actions despite any discomfort it may cause to pedestrians only serves to keep the riding public safe and secure via the proper implementation of relevant transport laws.
Angkas employs riders on motorcycles and scooters to offer transport to pedestrians using its mobile phone app, similar to other ride-hailing services that use cars. Patrons of Angkas have valued the motorcycles’ ability to wend its way through traffic jams en route to their destinations.
For their part, Angkas bemoaned the fact that the DOTr and LTFRB managed to make their TRO stick on their operations especially in the middle of the Holiday season, when vehicular traffic volume tends to be even greater than usual. They cite 25,000 biker-partners of theirs who are left without livelihoods so close to Christmas, and express hope that the Supreme would see their efforts to maximize safety on their rides, therefore eventually ruling for both riders and the commuters. Angkas must now file a response to the two government agencies’ petitions, and their hard-won preliminary injunction to be re-implemented.
Images: Vulcan Post and Wikipedia