Angkas Riders Rally Vs LTFRB
Around 30,000 bikers from Angkas gathered over the weekened to express their vehement opposition against a provision of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that would put cap to the number of riders per motorcycle taxi company. The fleet of rider-partners from Angkas made a "Unity Gathering" after the regulator announced that the Angkas, as well as newcomers JoyRide, and Move It, will participate in the Extended Pilot Implementation starting today (December 23) until March 23 "with an overall allotted cap of thirty-nine thousand (39,000) registered bikers -- ten thousand (10,000) bikers per Transport Network Company (TNC) for Metro Manila and three thousand (3,000) bikers per TNC for Metro Cebu operations." Last December 20, the LTFRB issued a statement that the" inter-agency Technical Working Group (TWG) on Motorcycle (MC) Taxis has concluded a meeting with the shortlisted providers for the Extension of MC Taxis Pilot Implementation." Currently, Angkas has around 27,000 biker-partners. In a statement, Angkas' Chief Transport Advocate George Royeca said, "Coming into this pilot test run they already the 27,000-strong manpower on biker-partners alone, which many of them working for them since 2017. According to Royeca, instead of allowing them to onboard more bikers and serve more commuters, the LTFRB now wants to trim their fleet from 27,000 to 10,000. "That’s a compromise to the quality of service you can expect, and a direct blow to over 17,000 Filipino families," he stressed. "The traffic in our thoroughfares is getting heavier each day and there are more and more commuters to serve as time goes by. So, bakit kailangang bawasan at tanggalan ng trabaho ang mga bikers natin?" Royeca noted. "Bakit kailangang parusahan ang mga bikers na nakapag-training at napatunayan na ang galing sa daan?" Royeca also decried the sudden and suspicious changing of the composition of the TWG towards the end of the initial test run. “The composition of the TWG was sudddenly changed, easing out all civil society groups, the Senate, the House, and the MMDA and limited the membership to the DOTr, LTO, and other allied agencies,” Royeca claimed. “It took several TWG meetings and almost six months including many Congress and Senate hearings for Angkas to be evaluated, while this TWG evaluated the new players in less than one month. How is that possible? Why was it rushed?” Royeca added. 'Baseless and Untrue' Prior to the unity ride, the TWG denied the allegation made by Angkas that "some 17,000 motorcycle taxi riders may lose their jobs come next year as a result of the safety study to be conducted." According to the TWG for motorcycle taxis (MC), there is no truth to the earlier statement released by Angkas, branding the TNC’s statement as “untrue and without basis.” Concurrent concurrent TWG for MC taxis chairman Antonio Gardiola Jr., said that commuters should expect an increase in the number of motorcycle taxi riders in the streets as more riders will be taking part in the study to be conducted. According to Gardiola, there are now 39,000 MC taxi riders who are joining the safety study from the original 27,000 Angkas riders. The TWG noted that the inclusion of riders from MOVE-IT and JOY RIDE will assure that data gathered from the study will not be “monopolized” by just one TNC, such as Angkas. In addition, the TWG said, by allowing MOVE-IT and JOY RIDE to participate in the study, commuters will be given more options in choosing their ride-hailing provider. ANGKAS PLEAS After LTFRB's announcement of the test run's extension, addition of two new players, and the capping of the number of riders, Angkas submitted an appeal to the Gardiola, citing critical safety concerns that may endanger the commuting public. The appeal, dated December 20, cited several problematic provisions in the new LTFRB ruling, which included the arbitrary cap of bikers. The appeal noted, "Other players should be allowed, but must ramp up at a more steady pace until they can properly prove both their operational teams and app platforms are truly functional at scale. Angkas took three years to learn how to manage 27,000 bikers, yet the new players are expected to handle 10,000 in three months."