Earlier this week, we heard news that the Land Transportation Office (LTO) is considering requiring personal mobility devices (PMDs) like electric kick scooters and e-bikes to be registered, and their riders bring licenses. The LTO has even submitted draft guidelines with its recommendations on how these PMDs should be registered, regulated, and where they can be ridden.
These vehicles are enjoying a sudden surge in popularity due to the restrictions on public transportation. Not surprisingly, there are many more on the road now, with some cities even setting up dedicated lanes for them.
We've reached out to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to find out for ourselves if they will indeed be regulated.
According to the DOTr, no official guidelines have been announced at the moment. With that, people who are using e-bikes, e-scooters, and other PMDs can continue doing so without issues. Furthermore, the initial draft submitted by the LTO has yet to be reviewed by the DOTr Road Sector, Legal Affairs, and the Office of the Secretary.
Perhaps the most crucial point is that DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade is personally not in favor of having them registered. Especially not now in the time of a pandemic with public transportation capacities reduced and incomes affected. We were told that he will also listen to the opinion and arguments of both regulators and stakeholders.
Finally, if any Memorandum Circular or official guidelines are released by the DOTr, it will require Sec. Tugade's signature to be made official. Since he does plan to meet with regulators and stakeholders, the possibility of e-bikes/e-scooters needing to be registered is still there. If they do implement it, hopefully, they'll do so after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed and public transportation resumes full operations.