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Amid transport crisis, commuter group renews calls for legalization of motorcycle taxis

Philstar.com
Amid transport crisis, commuter group renews calls for legalization of motorcycle taxis
As commuters continue to face challenges in public transportation during this pandemic, proponents stressed the need to pass their bills seeking to amend Republic Act 4136 (Land Transportation and Traffic Code) to make motorcycle taxi services a viable solution.
Philstar.com / Erwin Cagadas

MANILA, Philippines — A transport advocacy group called on lawmakers to act on bills pushing to legalize motorcycle taxis, saying the move will help commuters cope with the current transportation crisis as more and more industries troop back to on-site work.

In a statement sent to reporters, commuter network The Passenger Forum pointed out that similar measures were pushed in the 18th Congress through the efforts of almost 20 authors in the House and Senate Public Services Committee but ultimately languished.

“Allowing motorcycle taxis will give us a much-needed supply of public transport options at a time when there is an apparent deficit...We hope the 19th Congress will act swiftly as commuters need all the help we can get with the current situation of our public transport," TPF convenor Primo Morillo said.

Morillo pointed to Senate Bill No. 167 filed by Sen. JV Ejercito pushing to recognize motorcycles as public utility vehicles for commuters. 

"While the government continue to improve our mass transport system, there would exist inconveniences that affects the dally commute of our people. Though the future of transport appears to be brighter because of continuous infrastructure projects, we should remain open to other forms of transport such as motorcycle taxis," Ejercito writes in his explanatory note.

"Instead of banning the hiring of motorcycles as taxis, we push for its regulation. The safety of both passengers and drivers should be the paramount consideration in granting franchises or licenses to operate such motorcycle taxis. Safety shall always be valued more than convenience."

The bill remains Pending in the Committee level. 

The commuter advocate Morillo also claimed that the proposal would also help the government’s job generation without costing anything while widening its tax base. 

“The legalization of MC taxis will help the economy over-all. Commuting workers will get to their places of work faster, thousands of riders will have jobs, and the government will receive the taxes from all these transactions,” he said.

The struggle for motorcycle taxis is nothing new. The sector had been the subject of legal questions by the government, which initially saw them as a safety hazard amid the coronavirus pandemic.

That eventually changed later on due to public clamor, prompting a study of motorbike operations during which hailing firms will be allowed to operate pending legislation to ultimately govern the service.

The Department of Transportation presented a summary of findings during the last pilot run but the study still lacked comprehensive enough data for the TWG.

The Passenger Forum said it also welcomes the Grab Philippines acquisition of Move It calling the deal a “step towards a more competitive market.”

“This is a welcome move as it strengthens competition among the three players in the motorcycle taxi study. We are hoping that more players will come in so they will all compete to offer better rates, service, and promotions. Commuters always prefer having choices so long as this is done in compliance with current regulations,” Morillo added.

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