Motorcycle taxi firm Angkas is lobbying anew for the passage of a law that will allow bikes for hire to ply on the road to ease the burden of commuters particularly workers in the metropolis.
The call came after the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) endorsed the request of Metro Manila mayors to continue the pilot study on motorcycle taxis.
Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca said that while they are looking forward to the resumption of the firm’s operations, their ultimate goal is still the passage of the law that would allow motorcycles to be a mode of public transport.
“This is just a temporary arrangement while we are in dire need of ferrying workers safely to get the economy going. Hopefully, the government deems the law for motorcycle taxis urgent because this is something that I think the country really needs not just in Metro Manila but for the rest of the country,” he added.
The government allowed Angkas to operate on a pilot study basis but was cut short as all modes of public transport including motorcycles-for-hire were suspended in March due to the health crisis.
According to the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the IATF has already endorsed its recommendation to the House Committee on Transportation which would issue a resolution that will give motorcycle taxis the go signal to go back on the roads again.
The DOTr emphasized the need for a Congress resolution as it would be its “legal basis” to continue the pilot run as the operation of motorcycles as public transport is prohibited under the law.
“Congress is working very, very hard. We have had several meetings with them and everybody is just really focused on what type of public transportation can we look at that will be safe during this time of the pandemic and I think motorcycle taxis are one of those on top of the list especially with the open-air ventilation,” Royeca said.
Royeca assured the health and safety of its riders once it starts operations again as it is continuously working with health experts to craft guidelines on the matter.
He shared their team worked very hard for the last few months to figure out and come up with proper safety protocols to make sure that motorcycle taxis are safe during the time of the pandemic.
“I think that has been really ingrained in Angkas in terms of safety as our No. 1 priority. We have been working very closely with the University of the Philippines College of Public Health, several medical experts, and also with the government to craft the different safety protocols,” he said.
These health and safety protocols, according to Royeca, include the use of barriers, implementation of a contactless payment system, as well as requiring passengers to bring their own helmet before they can book a ride.
The Angkas official emphasized that these policies have been piloted when it offered free rides to healthcare workers in Metro Manila during the onset of modified enhanced community quarantine.
“After 10,000 free rides, there was no issue on transmissions or even accidents. We are very confident that this is something that can really help address transport issues that we have right now as we slowly reopen the economy,” Royeca said.
“We need to do it safely. Safety is still the primordial concern and we are looking forward to getting back on the streets,” he pointed out.