PCC backs motorcycle taxis, pushes for multi-homing policy

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - January 25, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is backing the passage of bills at the Senate to allow the use of motorcycles as a mode of public transport, and at the same time is pushing for a multi-homing policy or allowing drivers to offer their services on different platforms.

In a statement yesterday, the competition watchdog said it supports Senate bills seeking to amend the Land Transportation and Traffic Code to allow motorcycles to be used similar to taxis as an added option for commuters amid worsening congestion on roads.

“The Senate bills are timely, widen the choices for commuters, and open opportunities for businesses and innovators,” PCC said.

Last year, Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara filed Senate Bill 1025 to amend the Land Transportation and Traffic Code to allow and regulate motorcycles as public utility vehicles, provided that for transporting passengers, the motorcycle would have a minimum engine displacement of 125 cubic centimeters and a backbone type built.

As the government’s Technical Working Group (TWG) is undertaking a pilot on the use of motorcycles as a mode of public transport, PCC said it wants the group to consider having a multi-homing approach for drivers.

“We understand that the results of the Motorcycle Taxi Service Inter-Agency TWG pilot study will be critical to the future of this new market involving motorcycle taxis and online ride-hailing, especially in shaping regulations concerning safety, viability, and accreditation. We acknowledge the legitimacy and objectives of the study, and the need to on-board as wide a set of perspectives as possible. With this in mind, we encourage the TWG to consider the pro-competitive effects of multi-homing in its study,” PCC said.

Having a multi-homing policy means drivers can choose which platform to offer their services, the same way that passengers can choose among different apps.

PCC said a multi-homing policy would encourage platforms to continuously innovate and step up for  drivers and passenger safety and satisfaction.

On the other hand, the absence of a multi-homing policy may lead to inefficiencies detrimental to commuters.

“Whether in the experimental phase or once the law on MCs (motorcycles) will be passed, competition must be recognized as an essential element in stakeholders’ operations that bear impact on the riding public,” PCC said.

In allowing continued operation of the motorcycles as taxis at the end of the pilot, the agency said a fair, market-driven competition must be in place.

Originally set to end in December, the pilot run for motorcycle taxis was extended until March 23.

Earlier this week, the government allowed each motorcycle taxi service provider to have a maximum of 15,000 units in Metro Manila, and 9,000 each for those in Cebu and Cagayan de Oro for the pilot, following a meeting between the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and ride-hailing service providers Angkas, JoyRide and Move It.

The cap was initially set at 10,000 motorcycles for each player in Metro Manila, and 3,000 each in Cebu.

PCC said it would do its part by looking at the competition aspect of the guidelines to ensure competition and consumer welfare are protected.

“The PCC stands ready to offer advisory support to the TWG, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, and the DOTr in the formulation of policies that meet the dual objectives of promoting healthy market competition and protecting the welfare of the stakeholders in this important sector,” it added.

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