‘Mystery riders’ to entrap illegal ‘habal-habal’ drivers | Inquirer News

‘Mystery riders’ to entrap illegal ‘habal-habal’ drivers

/ 04:18 AM February 08, 2020

“Mystery riders” are being deployed in the metropolis to catch drivers of motorcycles that are not yet authorized to operate as public transport.

The tactic was revealed on Friday by the technical working group (TWG) in charge of an ongoing road safety test involving a limited number of accredited motorcycles-for-hire.

The TWG called out two ride-booking operators –i-Sabay and Sampa — for allegedly activating their own fleet of motorbikes without an accreditation from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).


At present, only three companies — Angkas, Joyride and Movelt — are allowed by the LTFRB to participate in the three-month safety test expected to run until March.


Angkas counts 25,304 bikers as members, of whom 20,000 are based in Metro Manila, while the rest are in Metro Cebu and Cagayan de Oro. Joyride and MoveIt currently have 10,676 and 4,825 bikers, respectively.

Transport regulators have maintained that only these registered bikers are allowed to take paying passengers, their safety record now being monitored while Congress has yet to pass a law legalizing the use of motorcycles as public transport.

Master list

TWG chair and LTFRB member Antonio Gardiola has ordered the use of mystery riders or undercover informants to entrap drivers of unaccredited bikes, known in street lingo as “habal-habal.”

Law enforcers have so far apprehended seven drivers, two of whom identified themselves as having links to Sampa. The other five claimed to be with Angkas but were not on the master list that the company had submitted to the TWG.

As earlier reported by the Inquirer, Sampa and i-Sabay were among the first motorcycle-hailing apps launched last year to challenge Angkas’ virtual monopoly. i-Sabay enlists its drivers through a Facebook page that accepts ride bookings, while Sampa is managed by the Taguig City government’s traffic chief, Jun Taganas.

‘Livelihood as excuse’

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade warned the two players not to interfere “in the already smooth-sailing implementation of the study (or safety test).”


“The TWG and the players in the pilot study have been working hard to push for [their] smooth implementation. Do not make (the need for a) livelihood as an excuse to put the lives of our riding public in jeopardy,” Tugade warned.

Gardiola added that those who would “defy authority” by plying the streets and accepting bookings as though they were participating in the test would be apprehended.

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The TWG chair also called on the accredited drivers under Angkas, Joyride and Movelt to adhere strictly to the TWG’s requirements, including those on safety protocols and proper documentation.

TAGS: colorum, habal-habal, joyride, LTFRB, TWG

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