Motorcycle taxi pilot run to proceed, transport official says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2020 10:22 AM | Updated as of Jan 21 2020 11:25 AM

Riders of motor taxi-hailing firms Angkas and JoyRide are shown in this file photo. The head of a government technical study said on Jan. 21, 2020 that the pilot run of motor taxis would continue. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA -- The pilot run of motorcycle taxis will proceed, the transport official overseeing it said Tuesday, as he called for a meeting with ride-hailing platforms Angkas, JoyRide and Move It to thresh out rules.

The Department of Transportation's technical working group considered the "sentiments" of senators during a hearing on Monday that the motor taxi trial run must proceed, said Antonio Gardiola, a member of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

Gardiola said on Monday that the pilot study would end and that the ride-hailing trio could be considered "illegal." Motorcycles are not recognized as public transport under Philippine law and the pilot run was set as platforms such as Angkas grew popular among commuters caught in traffic jams.

"Itutuloy natin yan (We will push through with it)," Gardiola told CNN Philippines when asked if the trial run would proceed.

Gardiola said Sen. Bong Go approached him at the Senate last Monday and told him, referring to the pilot run: "Dapat ituloy natin to (We should continue this)."

While the technical working group "understands" the need for an alternative mode of transportation, Gardiola cited violations of guidelines in the first trial run, which ended last December.

"Without regulation, it's anarchy. Mahirap ho (It's really hard)," he said.

The government added JoyRide and Move It because it could not draft regulation based solely on feedback from one participant, Angkas, during the first trial run, he said.

"Mahirap mageksperimento kung iisa sample mo (It's hard to experiment with just one sample), so we can come up with a viable and comprehensive evaluation of any data that we can gather," he said.

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Angkas, which is protesting the cap on riders per platform in the extended trial run, said legal cases questioning it should not stop the pilot from proceeding.

"The case is really of no consequence, rather what were focused on, what were really pushing for is the lifting of the cap and that’s really what they’re restrained by the court currently," Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca told ANC. 

Imposing a cap and creating a controlled environment for the study "is a little bit too late" after the initial 6-month period lapsed, Royeca said. 

Royeca proposed allowing drivers to operate on more than one platform, which he said worked in other countries.

"I think the first 6 months was a success and I really hope that they take that into consideration. Let’s find out how we can legalize this," Royeca said.