Years ago it started with Angkas, and nowadays there is a fledgling market and customer base for ride-hailing services that employ motorcycles as taxis. But the small industry has been under constant threat and pressure from public transportation regulators. Reasons given for not allowing the motorcycle taxi infrastructure to grow range from the platform having unfair advantage over four-wheeled vehicle taxis, and the matter of passenger safety beyond just providing them with helmets. A pilot program to test motorcycle taxi viability has been underway in Manila and Cebu, but with no conclusions drawn. In light of this the Senate has decided to force the issue.
Inquirer.net reports that the Philippine Senate is now gathering support for a bill that seeks to finally make motorcycle taxis a legal mode of public transport. Said Senate Bill, No. 1341, was presented and sponsored this afternoon of Tuesday, February 18. The “Motorcycles-for-Hire Act” seeks to amend the standing regulations of the Republic Act 4135 or Land Transportation and Traffic Code, changing and adding if necessary the new provision to classify motorcycle taxis like those operating for ride-hailing service Angkas, as duly-regulated public utility vehicles.
Senator Grace Poe is one of the sponsors and driving forces for Senate Bill No. 1341. On her privilege speech expressing support for the proposed act, finally having the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) recognize motorcycle taxis as genuine PUVs would actually be useful in getting all concerns about their platform’s safety addressed. Poe points out that while the improvement of other “mainstream” modes of public transportation like jeepneys, buses and trains have not yet been significantly applied, the introduction of alternatives like motorcycle taxis is a boon to ordinary commuters, and will cut down on the “colorum” operators like the traditional “habal-habal.”
“It’s 2020,” Senator Poe points out. “It is about time that we harness the power of technology to help us address mobility issues.” She adds that numbers-wise, shared motorcycles are an untapped resource that government should take advantage of for the benefit of the public. It also helps provide a greater freedom of choice for commuters in how they can get around town. The Bill 13 41 sponsor elaborates on the sheer volume of motorcycles in ownership – at least 1 for every three families, and 51% of these motorcycles already used in one’s business or livelihood. Poe is joined by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto in pushing for officially regulating motorcycle taxis in the future, along with fellow Senators Francis Tolentino and Bong Go.
Image courtesy of Rappler