Motorcycle taxis have finally been given a green light by the Department of Transportation (DOTr)... at least for the next six months. This is a welcome development,particularly for Angkas, after various legal battles with lower courts, the Supreme Court, and government agencies over its validity.
According to the DOTr’s official statement, Angkas and similar motorcycle taxi operations will be given a 6-month pilot implementation period, upon the recommendation of a Technical Working Group 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.
The pilot implementation of the motorcycle taxis will start in June, after DOTr Secretary, Arthur Tugade, has signed the general guidelines of the pilot implementation, and following a public information campaign. Their operations will be limited to within Metro Manila and Metro Cebu only, and will serve as the basis for the proposed laws regulating motorcycle taxis, if proven to be successful.
In a statement in Filipino, Secretary Tugade said that the department’s approval of the pilot implementation of motorcycle taxis is proof that the Philippine government listens to the plight and suggestions of the public and it is open to new ways of improving our traffic situation. The secretary also added that, motorcycle taxis, particularly its partner riders, should not take for granted the trust the government has given to them, and their priority being the safety of the riding public.
Among the safety requirements included in the general guidelines are: wearing of standard motorcycle helmets, reflectorized vests (including a vest-based strap or belt), the 60-kph speed limit, proper maintenance of the motorcycle, wearing of prescribed rider uniform, and the rider should not work more than 10 hours on the road per day. The general guidelines for the pilot program also included a mandatory accident insurance coverage equivalent to or higher than the current Passenger Personal Accident Insurance Program (PPAIP).
To streamline the fare matrix, the DOTr implemented a PhP50.00 flag-down rate for the first 2 kilometers, PhP10.00/ km up to 7 kilometers and PhP15.00 for every succeeding kilometer thereon. For Metro Cebu, it's a PhP20.00 flag-down rate for the first kilometer, then PhP16.00/ km up to 8 kilometers and PhP20.00/km for every succeeding kilometer thereon. There’s also a 1.5x surge price cap for both Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.
During the pilot implementation, ride-hailing platforms, such as Angkas, are required to submit data involving road crash, passenger complaints, distance traveled and total collected fare. There’s also the Key Performance Indicators to gauge how effective the pilot implementation was. If the Accident Threshold reaches 5% for the whole program, or if there’s a major or minor accident involving a motorcycle taxi, particularly a fatal accident, an emergency Technical Working Group will be mobilized immediately to conduct an investigation and possibly suspend the pilot implementation. Approximately 27,000 partner riders from Metro Manila and Metro Cebu will join the motorcycle taxi’s pilot implementation that will last up to the end of this year.