No more motorcycle taxis but private ‘angkas’ allowed soon
MANILA, Philippines— The government’s pilot study on motorcycle taxis expired in April so they are again deemed illegal unless Congress crafts a law that would allow them as a mode of public transportation, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said on Friday.
The DOTr said in a statement that it had “already submitted our recommendations to the House of Representatives and [we] are awaiting their action if [motorcycle taxi companies] will be allowed to continue operations.”
“So, technically, there is nothing to resume in the meantime, unless a new law is passed legalizing their operations as a public transport mode,” the DOTr added, without specifying what recommendations it made.
The pilot test was supposed to measure whether motorcycle taxis were fit for public transport as it is currently banned under the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, or Republic Act No. 4136.
The government allowed Singaporean-owned Angkas to operate motorcycle taxis for six months from June 2019 on a pilot study basis. JoyRide and MoveIt were also allowed to operate shortly before the Luzon lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Friday, Angkas asked the government to allow them to operate and proposed safety and hygienic measures to make backriding more sanitary.
But presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said: “Angkas no longer has authority to operate unless they are able to get a franchise.”
Roque, however, said the government might reallow pillion riding, or back riding, on private motorcycles after safety guidelines are drafted and approved.
Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has approved motorcycle pillion riding “in principle” and has formed a technical working group that would determine the safest and most effective manner to reduce the rate of coronavirus transmission.
The guidelines are to be set by the DOTr, the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Health, the Metro Manila Development Authority and the Bureau of Philippine Standards of the Department of Trade and Industry.
Roque announced the imminent lifting of the prohibition of motorcycle pillion riding amid complaints about the lack of public transportation after the government eased quarantine restrictions.
Exempted from curfew
Roque also said the IATF clarified that public transportation was exempted from the curfew imposed by local government units, which could mean longer operating hours for them.
Meanwhile, the IATF also allowed colleges and universities in areas under modified general community quarantine to hold mass gatherings so long as minimum health standards are followed and such gatherings are limited to 50 percent of venue capacity.
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