‘Bring your own helmet,’ cashless payment for motorcycle taxis

Published October 10, 2020, 3:30 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Cashless transactions and a “bring your own helmet” policy are some of the safety measures to be implemented once motorcycle taxis receive the go signal to resume operations.

Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddess Libiran said the guidelines for operations of motorcycle ride-hailing units have already been crafted and would soon be finalized, pending a Congress resolution that would allow motorbikes-for hire to ply the roads again.

According to Libiran, the guidelines include requiring motorcycle taxi riders to bring their own helmets, on top of other safety protocols such as the mandatory wearing of face masks.

“Isa sa mga naging issue na na-bring up noon sa motorcycle taxi pilot study ay yung reklamo ng ilang pasahero na madumi o kaya ay pinagpasa-pasahan na ang helmet. Dahil ngayon ay nasa pandemic tayo at very conscious tayo sa health and safety protocols natin, kailangan ay mayroong dalang sariling helmet ang mga pasahero,” Libiran explained.

(One of the issues that was brought up during the motorcycle taxi pilot study was the complaint of some passengers about dirty helmets, which have been passed around from one passenger to the next. Because we’re in a pandemic and we’re very conscious of our health and safety protocols, passengers must now bring their own helmets.)

Apart from this requirement, Libiran said that motorcycle taxi firms should also implement a cashless payment system to minimize the risk of virus transmission by limiting physical contact.

Over the past week, the Inter-agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recommended the Metro Manila mayors’ request for the government to continue the pilot study on motorcycle taxis.

Libiran welcomed this development, adding that the DOTr recognized the service that could be shared by motorcycle taxis in transporting more passengers especially now that all modes of public transport are operating in a reduced capacity.

“Wala pong problema kay [DOTr] Secretary Arthur Tugade ang pagbabalilk sa kalsada ng mga motorcycle taxis, as long as mayroong appropriate Congress resolution for the conduct of a motorcycle taxi pilot study at ang mga bikers at kanilang mga pasahero ay susunod sa mga health and safety guidelines ng IATF,” she pointed out.

(Sec. Arthur Tugade has no problem with allowing motorcycle taxis on the road, as long as there is an appropriate resolution from Congress for the conduct of its pilot study, and bikers and passengers will follow health and safety protocols set by the IATF.)

The DOTr official emphasized the need for a congressional resolution as it would be the Department’s “legal basis” to continue the pilot run. Operation of motorcycles as public transport is currently prohibited.

Meanwhile, motorcycle ride-hailing firm Angkas’ chief transport advocate George Royeca earlier said that they are “ready and eager” to return to the roads and to transport workers that can help in reviving the economy.

“We are ready and eager to serve especially our commuters who are required to go back to work but are faced with a critical shortage in public transportation. Angkas would be pleased to fill that gap so that we could safely ferry our passengers to their destinations,” Royeca said.

Angkas was in the last leg of the pilot service run when its operations were halted due to the health crisis, taking into consideration the strict safety protocols mandated by the government and health authorities on public transportation. 

Cabinet officials have also backed the resumption of Angkas’ operations, which they said is in line with the government’s plan to “increase the number of vehicles, especially ride-hailing motorcycles to provide services to more than 400,000 workers.”