Angkas 'pivoting to deliveries' as coronavirus crisis paralyzes '95 pct' of operations

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2020 06:38 PM

FILE PHOTO: An Angkas driver plies along EDSA on July 10, 2019. ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Motorcycle ride-hailing service Angkas on Monday said it was "pivoting to deliveries" after "95 percent" of the Philippines' largest motorcycle-hailing business was paralyzed due to the government's physical distancing policies meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Angkas operations were halted in March after the Department of Transportation banned motorcycle backrides as it violates the 1-meter distancing recommended by health experts. 

"We are just pivoting to deliveries. Most of the [Angkas] motorcycles are doing deliveries. They are delivering goods or food to people," Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca told the Senate Committee on Public Services.

"More than 95 percent of revenue down, more than 95 percent of our business is not operational... [But] we believe this is a health crisis everybody has to work together on," he said.

Angkas earlier launched Angkas Food to help sustain the livelihood of some riders during the health crisis.

"Angkas will not take any commission in this initiative. Para sa mga bikers ang lahat ng ito (This is all for the bikers)," the company said in a statement in March.

Angkas is ready to redeploy its motorcycle-hailing services should the government ask for help in transporting passengers, Royeca said, noting that seating capacity in trains, buses and jeeps were also reduced due to the policy on physical distancing.

"If we are asked to transport passengers to help the transportation system, we can do so with some health precaution and health guidelines in place," he said.

"Angkas is committed to mass test our fleet on a regular basis... Safety is primordial," he said.

Prior to the global pandemic, Angkas was embroiled in a legal controversy after government officials alleged that the ride-hailing platform violated a Constitutional ban on foreign ownership.