Angkas bares proposed safety measures for MC taxis
Motorcycle taxi mobile app Angkas bared their possible solutions to help their rider partners be able to get back in business.
In a press briefing, Angkas Chief Transport Advocate George Royeca revealed that they have submitted some safety protocols to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) should riding pillion be allowed in the new normal scenario.
It was last during the lockdown that public transport has been that the study on motorcycle taxis lapsed and it was also during the lockdown that motorcycle taxis Joyride and Angkas shifted their business to delivery services.
Now that the lokcdown has been eased, Royeca stressed that they hope to be able to work with the government in pursuing further studies on how to make motorcycle taxi services safer during the pandemic once the government approved its business operations.
Those that they presented include wearable passenger shields, pre-registering passengers, passengers to have their ownn helmets and face masks, among others.
On the same briefing, Quezon City Representative Precious Hipolito Castelo expressed confidence that the safety protocols presented can significantly decrease virus transmission.
The statement was in line with Castelo’s earlier call for the government to resume the operation of motorcycle taxis to help ease the burden of workers returning to their jobs as lockdown restrictions eased.
“There’s a strong public clamor for us to allow the operation of motorcycle taxis, not only for the benefit of the riders who need to get back their livelihood, but most especially for the commuting public, the working class,” she shared.
For his part, Dr. Vicente Belizario Jr., Dean of the UP Manila College of Public Health, also believed that such safety protocols will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“We cannot wait for a vaccine to come before motorcycle taxis are allowed to operate again,” Belizario noted.
“We are suffering because of a lack of opportunities to earn a living compounded by the lack of public transport opportunities during the quarantine. We at the public health sector are willing to work with the transport sector to minimize the threat that COVID-19 poses to the riding public,” he added.
The proposed shield, Royeca said, will be worn together with vest of the driver, as an additional layer of protection.
Belizario said that the proposed shield will be additional safety measure that will complement to the wearing of a helmet with a face shield and a mask, and the disinfecting of hands.
“I was talking to a medical expert and consulting about the safety of motorcycle taxis and he said that the chances of getting COVID-19 while riding motorcycles in open air and while the vehicle is moving is diminished,” Belizario said.
“I'm not saying it’s zero, but compared to enclosed air-conditioned rooms, it is safer," he clarified.
Belizario also emphasized that addressing the COVID-19 problem should be a string of measures.
“It is not the responsibility of one person or entity. There is the role of the motorcycle driver, there is the role of the passenger, there is the role of policemen enforcing the speed limit, and there is the role of the Department of Health for advising the IATF,” he said.
The pre-registered passenger proposal will act as shuttle service for select companies.
According to Royeca, this will ensure strict contact tracing for those who might test positive for the virus in the future.
Further, they are also suggesting that their bikers, if allowed, will regularly undergo COVID-19 testing.
“We hope to work with the IATF and the DOH to monitor the results and eventually recommend guidelines that can be adopted by both private motorcycles and motorcycle taxis alike. If the design is approved by the government and the medical experts, we commit to make the final shield design mold for free to the public,” Royeca declared.
Photos from Angkas