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Angkas revs up opposition to pilot-test guidelines

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 05:06 AM January 01, 2020

Motorcycle-hailing service Angkas is revving up its opposition to a six-month pilot test meant to assess the safety of bikes for public transport.

George Royeca, Angkas regulatory and public affairs head, is questioning a move by the multiagency technical working group (TWG) to limit the pilot test to bikes with engine displacement of 150 cubic centimeters.

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This in effect would exclude 30 percent of Angkas’ 27,000 riders using engines above 150 cc, he said in a Dec. 20, 2019 letter to the TWG.

“Yet proportionally they represent a smaller portion of accidents. This means that the (TWG) is in fact, reducing the safest bikes on the road with this rule,” he claimed.

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Based on the revised TWG guidelines that took effect on Dec. 23, only motorcycles with 100 cc to 150 cc may join the pilot test that has been extended from January to March in 2020.

These also limited motorcycle build types to underbone, scooter and business models, stressing “No aggressive sport, offroad or enduro bikes.”

TWG member Alberto Suansing, however, clarified on Monday the allowable engine displacement during the pilot run was “not yet conclusive.”Citing TWG’s discussion, he said the group decided not to impose the displacement cap on Angkas and new players Joyride and MoveIt.

“They can still run their motorcycles with engines 150 cc and above. What we are most concerned is the safety of the passengers,” he noted.

Suansing said it was the Philippine National Police and motorcycle manufacturers that recommended the cap.

“It’s because the higher the engine displacement, the faster the motorcycle can go,” he said.

For Angkas, motorcycles with higher engine displacement “tend to come with better features related to passenger comfort and safety that make the overall experience more pleasant.”

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Royeca said the exclusion of their above-150 cc motorcycles would mean the removal of their “safest and best bikers—usually a result of their higher earnings from having a proven track record of safely serving passengers.”

Motorbikes with 150 cc engines and above cost more than their lower displacement counterparts. For example, a 155-cc Yamaha NMax has a market price of around P100,000, while a 125-cc Yamaha Mio—a popular among motorcycle taxis—may be purchased for P75,000.

Lawmakers will use the results of the study to amend the 55-year-old Republic Act 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, and finally allow motorcycles taxis on the road.

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TAGS: Angkas, LTFRB, pilot test, Public Transport, Transportation
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