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DOTr Backs House Bill Legalizing Motorcycle Taxis, to Convene TWG on January 18

There's hope yet for Angkas and its kind!

On January 14, House Bill 8822 or ‘An Act Allowing the Use of Motorcycles as Public Utility Vehicles’ was filed by Rep. Ruffy Biazon of the Lone District of Muntinlupa at the House of Representatives which seeks to amend the provisions of Republic Act 4136 (RA 4136) or the Land Transportation Code, specifically to legalize motorcycle taxis or motorcycle-for-hire services.

If you thought the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is against the measure, then you’re wrong since the agency actually welcomes this development. In fact, come Friday, January18, the DOTr will begin to convene the Technical Working Group (TWG) it promised to put together back in December in response to the public’s clamor to legalize such a service.

“The DOTr believes this is the right step in order for motorcycles to function as a public transport service,” the DOTr said in a statement. “The DOTr respects the legislative process this bill will undergo, as government policies are anchored on the power of the law.”

While RA 4136 prohibits motorcycles from operating as public transport services, various stakeholders in the transportation sector are pushing to amend the law to enable ride-sharing motorcycle services like Angkas to provide public transport to commuters. In response to the public outcry after the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order against Angkas to suspend its operations based on a petition filed by the DOTr and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the transportation department through Secretary Arthur Tugade ordered the creation of a TWG to review the issue of making motorcycles as a mode of public transport.

Among the things to be deliberated on by the TWG are the types of motorcycle that can be awarded a franchise, the minimum cubic centimeter (CC) capacity of the motorcycle, travel speed, franchise routes, seat and helmet requirements, and training requirements for motorcycle riders looking to register as a public utility vehicle driver.

Also to be discussed are whether the LTFRB or local government units will issue the franchises for motorcycles, whether motorcycles may traverse municipal borders, the registration of e-bikes or e-motorcycles as motorcycle taxis, and safety issues–particularly responsibilities and accountabilities–in cases of accidents.

“It is easy to say that motorcycle taxis are convenient and speedy as they can weave through traffic,” the DOTr added in its statement. “However, when accidents involving passengers pile up and no accountabilities are made for the victims’ funeral and hospitalization expenses, should the motorcycle driver or owner be allowed to simply walk away without any measure of responsibility? For the DOTr, passenger safety and security are paramount.”

Joining the DOTr in the TWG are the LTFRB, Land Transportation Office, Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group, Metro Manila Development Authority, and representatives from the Senate, House of Representatives, commuter welfare groups, road safety advocates, motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle organizations and law schools.

Once it is finished with its deliberations, the TWG will submit a report to Congress as inputs for lawmakers to decide on the proposed amendments to the Land Transportation Code.

So, there’s hope yet for Angkas and its kind.

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