By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
Several motorcycles-for-hire in Metro Manila were apprehended by transport regulators for illegally operating while the motorcycle taxi pilot study is ongoing.
The Inter-Agency Technical Working Group (TWG) on motorcycle taxis announced on Friday that at least seven riders were nabbed by agents of the Other Law Enforcement Agencies (OLEAs) in its crackdown against “habal-habal” or illegal bike-hailing services.
OLEAs include officers from the Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, MMDA, PNP-Highway Patrol Group, local police officers, and the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic.
In its latest operation, OLEAs were able to apprehend two motorcyclists later identified as riders of SAMPA, a mobile motorcycle taxi-hailing platform, and five riders of bike-hailing firm Angkas, which are not included in its submitted riders’ master list.
According to the TWG, “mystery passengers” or undercover informants were deployed to book a ride with Angkas to check the rider’s safety gears and documents, only to find out that they are not registered in the regulatory body’s accredited master list.
The TWG added that they are also in the lookout against riders who operate under SAMPA and another bike-hailing app i-SABAY, which are not accredited by the TWG as participants in the pilot implementation program.
Transport regulators remind the public that only three motorcycle transport network companies, namely: Angkas, Move It, and JoyRide, are permitted to operate in the ongoing pilot test which will run until March.
TWG Chairman Antonio Gardiola Jr. also warned riders who will continue to operate under unauthorized platforms, as well as those not included in the master list during the dry run that they will be apprehended as colorum.
“We will not have second thoughts to penalize those who defy the authority. I also appeal to our participating players to please register your participants with the TWG and submit a daily ridership report,” Gardiola said.
The TWG also issued a stern warning to the three TNCs participating in the study to “strictly comply with safety protocols in serving the riding public.”
Gardiola pointed out that apart from OLEAs, “mystery passengers” will be regularly deployed to verify motorcycle classification and documents and to check if riders are equipped with the required proper safety gears.