Angkas and the rest of bike-hailing services will no longer be able to operate on 23rd of March 2020 as announced by the inter-agency technical working group (TWG).
Lead by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Land of Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Philippine National Police Highway Control Group (PNP-HCG), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Senate, House of Representatives, commuter welfare groups, road safety advocates, motorcycle manufacturers, organizations, and law schools, the inter-agency TWG said that the six months pilot run given to the motorcycle taxi service providers will no longer be extended.
The TWG emphasized that in accordance to Republic Act No. 4136, also known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, states that motorcycles are not allowed to engage in business or offer public transportation.
Related: New bigger plates for motorcycles.
On 18th of December 2019, the TWG approved an extended pilot run of three (3) months (from January to March 23, 2020) which allowed two (2) new motorcycle taxi players to participate – JoyRide and MoveIt. The data that will be collected from this pilot run is expected to aide the Congress in evaluating pending bills that aim to legalize the use of motorcycles as a public utility vehicle (PUV).
On 22nd of December 2019, due to the approval of two (2) new motorcycle taxi players, the LTFRB released new set of rules wherein Angkas will need to share the biker limit of 39,000 to JoyRide and MoveIt. Moreover, under such rules, LTFRB only allows the mentioned bike-hailing companies to have 10,000 bikers in Metro Manila and 3,000 for Metro Cebu.
These modifications led for Angkas bikers to initiate a protest in Quezon City. While the rules set were seen as a fair and equal practice among the motorcycle taxi companies, it also means that 17,000 riders from the Angkas will have to be reduced – losing their means of income aiding in the everyday necessities of their families.
On 21st of December 2019, the Chief Transport Advocate of Angkas released a statement regarding the alterations:
Coming into this pilot, 27,000 ang bikers namin, many of whom have been with us serving you the public since 2017. Sila ay ang mga beterano, mga magagaling na bayaning matagal niyo nang pinagkakatiwalaang itawid kayo sa pagn-araw-araw na perwisyo ng traffic.
Ngayon, sa halip na kami ay dagdagan, nagpasya ang LTFRB na bawasan pa ang Angkas bikers mula sa 27,000 hanggang 10,000 na lamang. That’s a compromise to the quality of service you can expect, and A DIRECT BLOW TO OVER 17,000 FILIPINO FAMILIES.
Kahit patawa at balasubas kami sa social media, we prioritize the safety of our passengers and the welfare of our bikers, which will now become much harder to do with these new rules. The traffic in our thoroughfares is getting heavier each day, and there are more and more commuters to serve as time goes by.
Bakit kailangang bawasan at tanggalan ng trabaho ang mga bikers natin? Bakit kailangang parusahan ang mga bikers na nakapag-training at napatunayan na ang galing sa daan?
Help us #SaveAngkas so we and our bikers can help save you again every day.”
Chief Transport Advocate
And on 23rd of December, through an official social media post, the LTFRB responded to the message of Mr. Royeca:
Dear Mr. George Royeca,
This is with reference to the recent statements, actuations and public relations efforts being made by Angkas on the issue of the Motorcycle Ride-Hailing Service, WHICH IS STILL UNDER GOVERNMENT STUDY as to its feasibility and propriety as a public transportation option.
It is quite unfortunate that ANGKAS has made a public spectacle, and has resorted to emotional blackmail in its attempt to cement its foothold on this transport service.
It is one thing to make an assiduous representation to state your case and your points on the matter, but it is another thing to use the issue as a forum to protect your vested interest at the expense of the government, which has nothing but the overall public interest in mind.
In the interest of true transparency, allow us to address the issues you have brought out in the court of public opinion.
On the matter of job displacement and loss of livelihood of your riders, it is not true that your 17,000 ride partners will be displaced. On the contrary, they actually have the option to choose the best employment/partnership terms either from you, or the two other participants in the program, JoyRide and Move It.
In fact, there is a need to hire more as the Technical Working Group (TWG) has recommended to increase the pilot run participants to 39,000 from the current 27,000 now in place.
Your argument that 17,000 out of your 27,000 riders will be deprived of their livelihood does not hold water, as they are the prospects of JoyRide and Move It. For Angkas to claim the 17,000 as their own is in itself curtailment and infringement of the right of the rider to seek the best employment opportunity.
The fact remains that you want exclusivity with these riders to establish a monopoly. That, Sir, is unacceptable, and that is precisely what the government is trying to avoid at all cost. This is our 2nd and most anthemic point – THERE CAN BE NO MONOPOLY in the Motorcycle Taxi Service as this goes against public interest. What the government wants to promote is healthy competition among service providers, to ensure that the commuter can avail of the best choice.
Thirdly, we wish to reiterate that the Motorcyle Taxi Service program is still on PILOT RUN basis, and that you still do not have an official transport franchise. We are extending the Pilot Run as we deem it necessary to give us the opportunity to fully assess the program and how best it will serve the commuter.
Your participation is a privilege that the government has extended, and it should not be construed as a right to impose or demand monopolistic provisions that will be detrimental to the program in the long run.
The TWG would like to reiterate and remind everyone that the Motorcycle Taxi Program is still a transportation concept being thoroughly tested and assessed for its long term viability and adaptability in our public transportation sphere.
We are extending the Pilot Run and introducing tweaks and system changes, including the addition of new service providers, to better equip us with a full understanding of the impact of the program to all stakeholders, most especially to the commuter, and how it will be a better and SAFE public transportation alternative.
An integral part of the Pilot Run extension will be the development of a registration and feedback mechanism to establish commuter buy-in and acceptability of the program, as well gauging the overall ride experience. There is also a need to adopt an audit system which will institute performance and regulatory compliance metrics for the service providers.
All these considerations are on the table because we reiterate that the issue involves PUBLIC INTEREST, and not simply a business enterprise.
We therefore wish to call out Angkas and its improper and self serving disposition and position. We are so disappointed and aghast at the temerity of Angkas to hostage the Pilot Run, as if it is an exclusive business endeavor that cannot be altered without its assent.
We deplore these underhanded tactics by Angkas, which have now severely strained the credibility not only of the program, but also of government. But, what Angkas fails to mention is that it is not even fully compliant with the directive to submit its actual listing of riders to the TWG as required early in the initial phase of the pilot run, as it can only provide an excel sheet submission of rides per day from June to December sans any analysis or executive summary.
In fact, despite the guidelines set by the TWG for the registration of authorized riders, Angkas has only submitted 2,204 authorized riders as of today, a far cry from its claim of 27,000 rider partners.
Perhaps, it is also a fair assumption to state that Mr. Royeca, who remained silent in consultative meetings and sessions, and who expressed amenability to the entry of Joy Ride and Move it, as well the cap provided, is really more concerned with losing at least P170,000 per day (pegged at a very conservative one ride per day only) in potential income if the 17,000 riders will move out of Angkas (based on 27,000 x P50/ride a day), which is why now he is drumming up the imagined suppression and unfair treatment of Angkas.
At this point, what is becoming clear is that Angkas is not really concerned with the pilot study and the livelihood of its riders. It is only concerned with the livelihood of its owners.
With only the best interest of the riding public in mind,
Motorcycle Taxi TWG