Just last month, Secretary Arthur Tugade and his agency, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) had granted motorcycle taxis a pilot run. One of the largest operators that stands to benefit is app-based ride-hailing service, Angkas.

The pilot run is a 6-month period of operation in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu. Data collected from this operation period will serve as the basis for the proposed laws and implementing rules and regulations for motorcycle taxis nationwide.

27,000 motorcycle taxi riders ready for the pilot run set by DOTr image

The last couple of weeks has also been very busy for Angkas' 27,000 partner riders, as they readied themselves for the pilot run, going through retraining required to pass Angkas' additional safety requirements. Angkas has so far, already trained 12,000 out of its total 27,000 partner rider pool. It hopes to complete retraining the remaining 15,000 by the end of the month in time for its pilot run.

Angkas head of Regulatory and Public Affairs, George Royeca, said that Angkas is retraining their partner-riders in preparation for the pilot run and in compliance with the directive and recommendations of the Technical Working Group (TWG) that was composed of representatives from the DOTr, Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Senate, the Congress, commuter welfare groups, road safety advocates, motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle organizations, and law schools, to study the feasibility of motorcycle taxis here in the country.

Currently, Ankas boasts a claimed safety record of 99.99%. According to Royeca, only 30% or less of the applicant-riders pass their stringent requirements that include rigorous riding skills assessment, written exams, and extensive motorcycle-safety training. This low passing ratio reflects how Angkas is serious about their high safety standards.

27,000 motorcycle taxi riders ready for the pilot run set by DOTr image

From left: David Medrana, Ankas Operations Head; George Royeca, Angkas Head of Regulatory and Public Affairs; and Jobert Bolanos, Motorcycle Rights Organization Chairman.

Besides updating their skills, Angkas has also updated the riders' uniform for this pilot run.

“For its pilot run, Angkas is introducing special reflectorized vests with side straps that help partner riders become more visible at night and aid passengers in holding on to the biker's waist.” added David Medrana, Ankas Operations Head.

Each Angkas partner rider receives a reflector vest that contains the bike operator's unique ID number, ensuring that only officially registered partner riders can take bookings.

27,000 motorcycle taxi riders ready for the pilot run set by DOTr image

Angkas passengers will also be given a short briefing before embarking on how to safely and properly backride.

Angkas also hopes to continue to improve its service. Angkas partner riders are now required to brief their passengers on how to properly backride before embarking. They will be provided with info sheets to show to passengers.

In addition, one of the notable features of the improved ride-hailing app is the addition of the feedback mechanism. “We also have a feedback mechanism in our app to closely monitor the performance of all our partner riders and address any concerns immediately.” added Medrana.

Finally, Angkas hopes to set a high bar for safety standards with its advocacy for motorcycle safety. Whether they pass or fail, all Angkas applicants go through a safety seminar, practical test and training, and written exam, all provided by Angkas for free. The service hopes that this practice will help create a more safety-conscious and better educated riding populace. It hopes that these practices will be emulated by the entire 18-million motorcycle rider population across the country. This is their ultimate goal besides providing an alternative transport solution for the Filipino.