During the past few weeks, we were bombarded by press releases, official statements, as well as posts from different personalities about the different issues surrounding the motorcycle taxi pilot run extension. So far, it has been a war of words and allegations between the supporters of the different ride-hailing apps, as well as the Philippine government itself.
While there's no shortage of vitriol between supporters of rival services, Angkas and JoyRide, among the partner riders, there seems to be no bad blood at all.
Brothers in two wheels
Just recently, a rider came to the aid of another in his time of need. Randy Velasco, an Angkas partner-rider, was transporting a client when the drive belt of his scooter snapped. This happened in one of the worst possible places, the middle of the traffic-packed Ayala Tunnel in Makati. The client was transferred to another Angkas rider quickly, but after that, Randy was on his own, still inside the Ayala Tunnel.
Seeing a fellow rider in trouble, JoyRide rider, Jover Aviles, quickly assisted Randy to move his motorcycle to a safer area. After moving the immobilized scooter, Jover offered Randy a ride so that they can find a shop that sells the needed drive belt and tools. Jover even stayed to help Randy install his new drive belt. That's almost half a day of losing bookings, time, and precious pay for Jover, but he didn't mind. Despite working for a rival TNC, it was time well spent for Jover.
“Patunay ito na ang bawat MotorTaxi riders sa daan ay magkakapatid at nagtutulungan (This is living proof that all MotorTaxi riders are brothers and are willing to help each other)” said Randy in his Facebook post.
Kamote or Kapatid?
This selfless act serves as the best proof of the inherent generosity and kindness of riders. After all, among the many groups of commuters, no other has received as much flack from the public as riders. Over the past couple of years, the term "kamote" has grown in popularity as a catch-all term for unruly motorcycle riders. In addition, the heavy traffic has led to a rise in “riding-in-tandem” related crimes, turning the common activity into something synonymous with crime. To curb these crimes, police have been stopping practically all riders at checkpoints, inspecting their motorcycles and papers for signs of criminal persuation. In some cases, riding in tandem has been banned completely.
While there are a few bad eggs among the riding populace, in truth, the vast majority are some of the most helpful folks that you will encounter on the road.
How many times have we read a story about a delivery boy who rides a motorcycle that went the extra mile to buy medicines on behalf of a client when the latter was unable to do so? How about the story of our very own friend, Jester, an Angkas rider, who, in the midst of the LRT 2 shutdown (due to a rectifier-transformer catching fire) offered free rides to affected university belt students? How about the motorcycle riders that chased an SUV involved in a hit-and-run incident in Taytay, eventually leading to the arrest of the driver? Had he not responded to that moment, the erring driver could have escaped responsibility and, God forbid, make the same mistake again. The outcomes would have been very different without a rider around.
Do you think riders are the menace of the road that many claim them to be? Or are they unfairly generalized?