House panel pushes return of motorcycle taxis to help 'fill gap' in public transport


Posted at Aug 19 2020 04:10 PM

A vehicle from the new motorcycle taxi player JoyRide and rival Angkas traverse EDSA in Quezon City on January 6, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - The House of Representative's Committee on Transportation said Wednesday it recommended the resumption of motorcycle taxi service to augment the reduced capacity of the country's public transport.

The Committee said it has recommended the return of motorcycle taxis to the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID. The pilot run on motorcycle taxis expired during the lockdown. 

Angkas, JoyRide and MoveIt are the three operators who are part of the pilot run that was conducted to look into the possibility of permanently using the service as an alternative mode of public transport. 

Committee chair and Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento said panel members have made a "unanimous" decision, however, the recommendation was deferred due to the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine in March.

“The panel sees the importance of providing accessible public transport now that we are back to GCQ and many members of the committee feel that our motorcycle taxis could fill the gap on our prevailing transportation vacuum due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sarmiento said.

With Metro Manila's shift to general community quarantine on Aug. 19, the panel said it would move for the re-opening of motorcycle ride-hailing services to ease the burden of the commuting public. 

Although public transport such as buses, railways, and trains are now allowed to operate, capacity was reduced to lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19. 

Sarmiento noted that motorcycle taxis lessen the risk of "multiple" transmissions since motorcycles could only carry one passenger. Its app can also boost contact tracing efforts.