The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will begin conducting discussions with its newly-formed technical working group (TWG) on motorcycle taxi services, such as Angkas, starting tomorrow, January 18, 2019.

Ordered by DOTr Secretary, Arthur Tugade, last December 2018, the TWG will hold discussions with lawmakers, law enforcement units, and private stakeholders in order to create a report of which may be submitted to Congress to serve as a resource for lawmakers in deciding on the proposed amendments to Republic Act 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, to legally allow motorcycles for hire.

Forming the TWG are representatives from the DOTr, Land Transportation Office (LTO), LTFRB, Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Senate, Congress, commuter welfare groups, road safety advocates, motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle organizations, and law schools.

The DOTr hopes that through the discussions of the TWG, all sectors will have the opportunity to express their positions and be heard, and above all, amicably come to an agreement geared towards the safety, security, and comfort of our passengers.

Through the TWG, discussions will be made on the capabilities required of a motorcycle and its driver for public transport service. These include determining the types of motorcycle that can be awarded a franchise, the minimum Cubic Centimeter (CC) capacity, travel speed, franchise routes, seat and helmet requirements, and training requirements for motorcycle bikers looking to register as a PUV driver. It will also look into e-bikes or e-motorcycles being allowed to register as a motorcycle taxi.

In addition, the TWG may also discuss which government agency will issue franchises, whether it is the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), or local government units (LGUs). In the case of LGUs, it will also be discussed if motorcycle taxis cross municipal borders.

Safety issues will also be included in the TWG discussions – setting responsibilities and accountabilities in the unfortunate case of an accident.

Last January 15, Congress had given the DOTr 2 weeks to craft a Department Order to regulate motorcycle taxis while a bill to amend Republic Act 4136 (which prohibits motorcycles from serving as taxis) is prepared.

In a statement issued yesterday, January 16, 2019, the DOTr “respects the legislative process this bill will undergo, as government policies are anchored on the power of the law… this is the right step in order for motorcycles to function as a public transport service.”

However, the department stressed that “converting motorcycles to a public transport service requires thorough study, deliberation and assessment.”

“We will listen to all parties, and determine if legalizing motorcycle taxis is what’s best for the riding public. It is easy to say that motorcycle taxis are convenient and speedy as they can weave through traffic. However, when accidents involving passengers pile up and no accountabilities are made for the victims’ funeral and hospitalization expenses, should the motorcycle driver or owner be allowed to simply walk away without any measure of responsibility? For the DOTr, passenger safety and security are paramount.”

The DOTr hopes that through the discussions of the TWG, all sectors will have the opportunity to express their positions and be heard, and above all, amicably come to an agreement geared towards the safety, security, and comfort of our passengers.