In a recent hearing between the Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield and the House Committee on Transportation, the resumption of the motorcycle taxi pilot study was recently discussed.
The two groups have agreed that motorcycle taxi services can help ease the woes of the commuting public due to the reduced capacity of public transport.
The JTF COVID Shield, led by Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, has already allowed pillion riding on motorcycles for all the Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR).
“Since we are allowing that for private use, at ‘yun nga po ang iniimplement natin ngayon, ay ano po ba ang pagkakaiba noon kung matutulungan natin itong ibang kababayan natin na walang motorsiklo but may available naman na motorcycle taxi as long meron pong barrier na base sa pagaaral ay inaprubahan ng IATF. (Since we are allowing it for private use and is being implemented now, it should be no different if we can help our countrymen with no motorcycle but have motorcycle taxis as an option with a barrier as approved by the IATF.)” he said to members of the House Committee on Transportation during virtual deliberations on the resumption of the motorcycle taxi pilot study.
Of course, motorcycle taxi partner riders and passengers will be required to strictly follow heath and safety protocols. These including the use of approved barrier designs between rider and passenger, passengers bringing their own helmets with full visors, and the mandatory wearing of a face mask.
House Transportation panel chair Rep. Edgar Sarmiento urged the JTF, and Department of Transportation (DOTr) to recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) that motorcycle taxis be allowed to operate once again.
In addition to augmenting public transport, Sarmiento said the resumption of motorcycle taxi operation can help lawmakers gather the necessary data needed for the crafting of a law seeking to legalize the operations of the two-wheel vehicles.
“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa DOTr na natapos ang report, kaso kulang pa po. Kailangan pa po talaga patakbuhin ang mga motorsiklo para matapos ang kailangan na datos. (We’re thankful to the DOTr for their report, but we still need more data to caft the law),” he said.
He was refering to the Department of Transportation’s TWG, which had recently submitted its report on motorcycle taxi pilot testing to the Transportation panel.
The motorcycle taxi pilot testing program was intended to run until March 23, however the government’s imposition of enhanced community quarantine was implemented all over Luzon on March 17, cutting short the pilot testing program.
Present at the virtual meeting was Assistant Secretary Steve Pastor of the Department of Transportation (DOTr). As a member of the technical working group (TWG) assigned to oversee the motorcycle-taxi pilot run, the transport representative said he will bring up the recommendations with the IATF.