Many Metro Manila commuters recently took to social media to share their disappointment over news that motorbike-hailing app Angkas had suspended its operations.
Angkas had said it is suspending operations to conduct a dialogue with the Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and other transport authorities.
Netizen reactions ranged from sadness to heartbreak.
"I don't ever want to return to Manila traffic," one citizen said.
There were also those who compared it to a crushing heartbreak:
In a statement, Angkas said that their "dream was to give commuters back their city and time, and uplift bikers and their families through better livelihood."
In less than a year, the Angkas app has been downloaded over half a million times.
But even after the halt in its operations, Angkas said it would continue to engage authorities in dialogue, and appeal for these to consider their request for regulation and to be included in the Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) category.
In a recent press conference, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said that a number of Cebu residents had requested for Angkas to return, as the service has been a valuable help with their transportation woes.
In response to their appeals and as part of his mandate in serving the people, Osmeña proposed allowing Angkas to continue its operations under the city government.
If the Cebu official's plan pushes through, the local government will hire the company's management services, and will use their online booking system.
Across the Philippines, motorbike transportation had traditionally been available in the form of habal-habal, but without any of the stringent safety measures Angkas was known for.
Angkas aimed to raise the standards of safety in motorcycle transportation by requiring safety training, skills assessment, background checks, and professional licenses for on-boarded bikers, and providing safety gear and personal accident insurance for both bikers and passengers.
As traffic congestion continues to intensify with the holidays just around the corner, Angkas is also calling on the public to continue appealing to transport authorities for safe and dependable mobility solutions, and to share their stories on traffic and commuting with the hashtags: #OneWithAngkas #WeNeedAngkas.
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