Open frames are not a 'box'

In a memorandum dated March 15, 2016, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) outlined the parameters for what’s considered a top box, as well as what's a custom-made top boxes. The memo also outlines the penalties associated with not registering it, which may include a PhP 5,000 fine.

It seems that there is still some confusion as to what is considered a factory top box or a custom-made box on the street level. It's something critical to know considering there are many motorcycle couriers for their food, shopping, or basically anything that needs to be delivered.

For that reason, representatives from food delivery services sought the guidance of the LTO-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) regional director, Francis Almora and Atty. Jessie Balagot to clarify the specifics of the abovementioned memo.

According to the LTO CAR, metal frames or custom-made brackets that are installed at the rear of the motorcycle to carry goods are not considered as a “top box” nor considered as a custom-made box. Rather, they are considered as unauthorized modifications and could net the rider a hefty fine.

Metal frames/ bracket = unauthorized modification image

“Dir. Almora clarified that metal frames/brackets installed at the rear part of motorcycles are not considered custom-made top boxes. The installation of such is already considered as unauthorized/improper modification which will make the driver subject [to] apprehension,” said LTO CAR through their social media account.

Why not open frames?

The LTO is discouraging the use of open metal frames and brackets to carry cargo because any cargo mounted on it is still loose and may easily fall off and scatter onto the road, possibly causing accidents. It appears the agency prefers sealed containers where any contents may be kept securely inside without any risk of it falling out.

What is considered a factory top box?

Any top box that is specifically designed for motorcycles and scooters and is approved by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) no longer needs to be inspected or registered and cannot be apprehended. It simply needs to be securely attached to the motorcycle and have a maximum capacity of two full-face helmets.

Metal frames/ bracket = unauthorized modification image

That being said, any top box that does not conform to the guidelines above needs to be checked by the LTO and registered if it is compliant.

What is considered a custom-made box?

Custom-made boxes, like those used by fast-food delivery services and soft bag boxes like those used by today’s partner riders, must conform with the LTO’s guidelines. These top boxes must NOT BE MORE THAN 2 feet x 2 feet x 2 feet (length, width, height) in size, must be securely attached to the motorcycle, and must not impede or obstruct the view of the rider of the road in the side mirrors.

Custom-made top boxes that are not registered are subject to apprehension with a penalty of PhP5,000 pursuant to the Department of Transportation (DOTr, formerly DOTC) joint administrative order 2014-01 Sec. II-D.