TWG, stakeholders to ‘iron out’ motorcycle taxi issues
MANILA, Philippines —The inter-agency technical working group (TWG) tasked to study the safety of bikes as a mode of public transport said it would meet with the three providers to “iron out” concerns regarding the pilot program on the safety of motorcycle taxis.
The TWG issued the statement on Monday after its decision to terminate its study due to “legal impediments” were rebuked by senators, who were conducting a hearing on bills seeking to regulate bike-for-hire services.
“TWG on Motorcycle Taxis is considering the sentiments raised by the members of the Senate Committee on Public Services, as well as by other stakeholders. In fact, right after the Senate hearing, the TWG immediately convened to initially discuss such sentiments,” the TWG statement said.
The TWG said it would “further discuss all these on Wednesday.”
A report will then be submitted to Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, it added.
“Another meeting shall likewise be conducted on Friday with stakeholders, resource persons, and the three motorcycle providers participating in the study, to iron out the specifics,” the TWG said.
In June last year, a six-month pilot run was approved to help Congress further evaluate pending bills seeking to legalize the use of motorcycles as public utility vehicles (PUVs).
The pilot run was originally set to end on Dec. 26, 2019, but was extended until March 23, 2020.
In a letter submitted to Congress, the TWG recommended the termination of the implementation of the pilot program and the blacklisting of Angkas from participating as a motorcycle taxi service provider as it allegedly “blatantly exhibited defiance” on the mandated guidelines set by the TWG.
These violations include the alleged operations of Angkas outside the designated pilot areas, the imposition of a fare surge during peak hours, and issues of ownership.
But George Royeca, chief transport advocate of Angkas, said the firm had complied with the TWG guidelines, adding that its only issue was the biker cap the government had set.
The operators — Angkas, JoyRide, and MoveIt — were given an allotted cap of 39,000 registered bikers — 10,000 bikers per transport network company (TNC) for Metro Manila and 3,000 bikers per TNC for Metro Cebu.
According to Royeca, Angkas has corrected the issues raised against it. And there seemed to have been a positive reaction in the brief talk among the three firms and the TWG, including its chief, retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Gardiola Jr.
“Again our only issue is the cap per operator, if we can resolve that then there should be no issue,” he added.
A temporary restraining order earlier issued by the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court on Monday halted for 72 hours the implementation of the government’s ceiling on the number of motorcycle taxis allowed to participate in the ongoing pilot run.
This developed after Angkas slammed the government’s move to impose a 10,000-biker limit as “anti-competitive” and “morally wrong,” adding that 17,000 of its biker-partners stand to lose their jobs. Its current workforce is at 27,000.
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