The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is expected to act soon on a recommendation to extend the pilot run for motorcycle taxis, or habal-habal, for six months and allow more providers to operate.
The recommendation was made by the inter-agency Technical Working Group (TWG) on motorcyle taxis, the group studying the viability of motorcycle taxis or habal-habal as a mode of public transportation.
The pilot run, which started in June 2019, is supposed to end on December 26, 2019. It involves only Angkas and its 27,000 riders in Metro Cebu and Metro Manila.
The DOTr said the group heard on November 20, 2019 proposals from six motorcycle taxi companies that want to participate in the pilot run. These are Citimuber, JoyRide, MoveIt, EsetGo, Sakay, and VroomGo.
Allowing these new providers to operate would provide the public with more choices and hopefully raise the bar, said TWG chairperson Antonio B. Gardiola, Jr.
“We want to determine their operational readiness and compliance,” Gardiola said.
He also said a six-month extension of the pilot implementation would provide the TWG more time to widen the scope of their study on appropriate standards and capacities for motorcycles to be considered safe, convenient, and eligible for franchise.
“We also want to determine whether or not motorcycles are really a safe and viable form of public transportation. That is always our priority — the safety, security, and comfort of the riding public,” Gardiola added.
The DOTr approved the pilot run in aid of legislation for both the House of Representatives and the Senate to further evaluate pending legislative bills pushing for the legalization of the use of motorcycles as public utility vehicles (PUVs), as well as amendment of existing laws such as Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.
The Traffic Code currently does not allow the use of motorcycles for public transport. But motorcycle taxis, or habal-habal, have become a popular mode of transport because of the worsening traffic conditions in key urban centers. Their operation, however, has been illegal.
Under the pilot run, motorcycle taxi services have uniform rates.
In Metro Manila, a motorcycle taxi ride costs P50 for the first two kilometers and an additional P10 for every succeeding kilometer up to seven kilometers. Beyond seven kilometers, the additional rate is P15 per kilometer.
In Metro Cebu, the basic rate is P20 for the first kilometer and an additional P16 per kilometer up to eight kilometers. Beyond this, the additional rate is P20 per kilometer.
The rates may be increased by up to 1.5 times during a "surge" or high demand.
The TWG was created by the DOTr to gather data to determine the viability of motorcycles as a safe mode of public transportation.
The group is headed by Gardiola, who is a member of the board of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. It is also made up of representatives from the DOTr, Land Transportation Office and the Inter-agency Council for Traffic.
The TWG has already submitted its recommendation, and a decision on the proposed extension is due for release in the coming days. (Ventures Cebu)