City bans e-scooters
CCTO, in a public advisory, said such a decision was based on the Land Transportation Office’s order to apprehend e-scooters and all those other mode of transport with engines below 50cc.
STAR/Michael Varcas, file
City bans e-scooters
Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - September 25, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Even as the Department of Transportation’s guidelines on the use of electric or gas-powered scooters are still being finalized, the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) has already banned the use of such mode of transportation on the city roads.

CCTO, in a public advisory, said such a decision was based on the Land Transportation Office’s order to apprehend e-scooters and all those other mode of transport with engines below 50cc.

“Subay sa kamandu-an sa LTO nga ipadakop ang e-scooter og katong adunay makina nga below 50cc nga gadagan sa kadalanan. Article 4 of Section 7 sa atong Ordinansa sa Syudad sa Sugbo nga gadili sa maong mga sakyanan nga makadagan sa kadalanan sa syudad. Among giawhag ang mga nanag-iya niini nga dili gamiton sa kadalanan sa Syudad sa Sugbo,” CCTO’s public advisory reads.

CCTO spokesperson John Paul Amores confirmed the release of such advisory in an interview with The FREEMAN. He said the ban on e-scooters takes effect immediately.

Even as LTO-7’s order has not been finalized in writing, the agency is reportedly anchoring its decision on the city’s own ordinance that accordingly prohibits those kinds of vehicle.

Under Section 7 of Cebu City Ordinance 801, coasters, roller skaters, and toy vehicles or similar devices are prohibited in any roadway, except while crossing a street.

Violators will have his or her toy vehicle or e-scooter impounded.

Even if the city’s bike lanes will already be available for use, e-scooters will also not be allowed to use these bike lanes.

Garganera surprised

The development came as a surprise for Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center.

“There is no official or final guidelines yet on the use of electric e-scooters on public roads, it's still being reviewed by DOTR Road Sector, Legal Affairs and the Office of the DOTR Secretary,” he said.

Garganera said such implementation is so untimely.

“It is untimely that this City will put limitations to people's access to affordable, clean and environmentally friendly, social distancing alternative mode of transportation. Not this time of pandemic. We are the only City in the country who will be doing it,” lamented Garganera.

Councilor Dondon Hontiveros, who is also using e-scooter as an alternative mode of transportation at times and in sending some relief goods as well as in his visits to the barangays, said that they will make an appeal on CCTO’s decision.

Alternative

Patrick Mendoza of Kaaborkad’s Cebu, one of the e-scooter groups here, said the banning of e-scooters was also surprising, considering that only two weeks ago, they had a meeting with CCTO head Alma Fe Casimero and Councilor Jun-Jun Osmeña about the use of e-scooters as an alternative way of transportation, especially in the time of pandemic.

Mendoza said everything went well in the meeting as far as he was concerned.

“Nasubo mi pagkakita namo sa advisory. Kalit kaayo. Last two weeks ago, nag-meeting pa man gani mi nilang maam Alma (Casimero) and Councilor Jun-Jun Osmena about ani. Abi kaong okay na and nagkasinabot nami, wala diay,” he said.

Mendoza said while they understand that CCTO is just after everyone’s safety, there are also a lot of Cebuanos, including medical frontliners, who are affected by the pandemic and have been using e-scooters as a means of transportation.

Mendoza shared that their group has been conducting lectures on the riders’ safety.

“For now, amo na lang sang gi-advise nga avoid lang sa og gamit sa mga electric scooters and let our legislators do their job. No bashing and not go against. Huwat sa sakto na venue na maka-air out sa mga grievances being responsible citizens,” stressed Mendoza.

Perry Chester Revil, head nurse of St. Vincent Hospital, is one of the frontliners who use e-scooter to work. He said he felt bad about this development.

He said they had no choice but find an alternative mode of transportation especially after medical frontliners have reportedly been discriminated against.

“Against ko sa pag-ban (of the use of e-scooters). First and foremost, pagsunod pa lang gyud aning Covid, naka-exprience na mig discrimination. Wa mi pasakya og jeep, wa mi pasakya og bus. So nangita gyud mig ways,” said Revil.

The problem with bicycles is that they are slow and they can’t beat the time. Because bicycles require pedaling, medical workers also end up sweating and uncomfortable. When they are at work, they use PPEs and this reportedly makes them even weaker.

Revil said that to ensure safety, dealers should educate the new users instead of going to LTO and getting a license and registration that also takes several months to secure.

He also echoed Garganera’s view that e-scooters are eco-friendly, not to mention the savings they get which helps them a lot because they only have “meager” salary.

Conflicting stands

DOTr Secretary Art Tugade, in an interview over DZRH’s Dos Por Dos, said he is personally against the registration of e-scooters and its drivers.

Tugade also questioned the timing of this issue.

“Registration of vehicles postponed, extended, eh bakit ngayon pati e-scooter? Tignan natin sa malawak na pananaw yan, pandemya ho ngayon. Sa existing normal registration, nag-extend po tayo, meron sasakyan, pwede nating gagamitin,” said Tugade.

LTO Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante, for his part, in an interview over One News, stressed that their primordial concern is safety that e-scooters and e-bikes need to be regulated and registered.

“Hindi into para pahirapan sila kundi para sa kanilang kapakanan. It shall be based on weight and speed,” said Galvante.

Galvante said an e-scooter or e-bike which runs 25 kilometers per hour may pass through bike lanes while if not used in national roads, it will not need a license to use it, but they have to have safety gears.

As reported earlier, guidelines on the use of these transport modes are still being reviewed by DOTr. — JMD (FREEMAN)

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