Solon says TWG move to prematurely end motorbike taxi study could foster monopoly

Published January 21, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Charissa Luci-Atienza 

An opposition lawmaker cheered on Tuesday (Jan. 21) the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) decision to continue its pilot study on the safety of the motorcycle taxis.

On a vote of 261 to 18, the Senate and the House of Representatives decide to extend martial law in Mindanao up to December 31, 2017 in a joint, special session at the Batasang Pambansa yesterday. Inset photo shows Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III (left) and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez presiding over the session that lasted more than seven hours. (Jansen Romero, Alvin Kasiban)
House of the Representatives (Manila Bulletin File Photo)

Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo branded a “welcome development” the last-minute decision of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to continue the pilot testing on motorcycle taxi services.

“The LTFRB must stay committed to evidence-based policy making,” she told reporters in a press conference, after retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Gardiola Jr., chairman of the DOTR’s technical working group in charge of managing the government’s pilot-testing on motorcycle taxis, announced that the DOTR’s pilot program will continue.

The pilot program was launched last year to guide lawmakers who have been looking at the viability of motorcycle taxis.

“At this point, the reason for why Angkas, JoyRide, and Move It can operate is precisely because they are the subjects of the pilot study,” she said.

Quimbo questioned the LTFRB’s initial move to withdraw the study, saying that it is “tantamount to putting up what competition authorities call a ‘barrier to entry’.”

“Specifically, the LTFRB would put up a barrier to entry in the market for on-demand and platform-based private transport, which includes Grab. Because Angkas and other operators potentially compete against Grab, this barrier to entry would provide the latter an undue advantage. With this move by the LTRB, commuters would once again be left with Grab as their only option in the market.”

She described the LTFRB’s earlier move to withdraw the study as “anti-competitive” as it limits consumer choices prematurely and unfairly. “Consumer safety is paramount, but such objectives must also be balanced with competition principles.”

She said that while the purpose of the pilot study is to determine the appropriate regulatory interventions to ensure the safety of the passengers, “in the process, it should not kill jobs, narrow consumer choice, or eradicate market options that have the potential to effectively compete with transportation options such as Grab.”

She said if LTFRB wants to protect the interest of the riding public, it should complete the pilot testing to find solutions to the problems hounding the country’s transportation system.

The DOTR’s TWG had initially recommended the ban on motorcycle taxis, which drew flak from members of Congress and other concerned stakeholders.

READ MORE: TWG head says they won’t halt motorcycle taxi study