LTFRB Allows e-Trikes to Operate as Tourist Transports
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has filed Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2019-044, which permits electric tricycles or e-trikes to serve as an alternative to tourist transport services “to promote new and more sustainable public transportation solutions, and to support the country’s flourishing tourist industry.”
To operate as such though, the Board has set the following conditions for potential operators of the e-trikes:
- Its services are limited to within the tourist area or zone within a Local Government Unit (LGU);
- It is only allowed to operate in tourist areas or zones as defined by either the Department of Tourism (DOT) or Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority;
- An endorsement for franchise application from either the DOT or Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority is required;
- The operator and his/her driver/s must comply with local laws, ordinances and/or traffic management plans of the LGU within which the tourist area/zone is located;
- The e-trikes are not allowed to operate on national highways utilized by vehicles with four or more wheels that weigh more than four tons, and where the normal speed exceeds 40 kph unless the LGU provides an exception if there is no alternative route; and
- The operator may only employ drivers duly-licensed by the LTFRB to operate tricycles-for-hire.
Upon submission of the application to operate e-trikes as tourist transport services to the DOT, the department has three working days to review it before it can be endorsed to the Department of Transportation (DOTr). The DOTr then has seven working days to review the application–specifically to determine if the applicant has the adequate garage facilities to house the vehicles indicated in the application and ensure that ‘Tourist Transport Service’ markings are conspicuously painted on the sides of the vehicle/s–before forwarding its evaluation to the LTFRB. Based on the merits of the DOT’s endorsement and the DOTr’s evaluation, the LTFRB will then either deny or grant the franchise application
Ironically, while MC 2019-044 cites then-Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Department Order (DO) No. 2013-04 for the aforementioned processing of franchise applications for e-trikes, the same DO did not indicate the required garage space needed for e-trikes.
Board Chairman Atty. Martin Delgra III signed the MC on September 3, which then took effect a couple of days later on September 5.