(JANUARY 22, 2020) – The transportation department’s technical panel has agreed to continue the extended pilot run for motorcycle taxis, reversing its earlier decision to terminate the project two months earlier, a lawmaker announced on Wednesday.
Congressman Edgar Sarmiento, head of the House committee on transportation, said the technical working group has agreed to allow the three ride-hailing companies to complete the three-month pilot project until March.
The decision was reached after an executive session at the House of Representative with top transportation department officials and senior executives of Angkas, JoyRide, and Move It.
“Ito po ay ipagpapatuloy na doon sa sinasabing three months na matatapos sa March,” Sarmiento said, adding it was also agreed upon in the meeting that the biker cap will be increased to 45,000 from 30,000 in Metro Manila, and 9,000 each in Cebu and new area Cagayan de Oro.
This will effectively increase the total number of riders to 21,000 each per company.
Transportation secretary Arthur Tugade said the cap is flexible–meaning if a company cannot field its share of bikers in a certain area, the remaining balance will be redistributed to the other two companies.
“May nagsabing hindi niya kaya ang 15,000, ang kaya ko lang, 10,000. ‘Yung balanse niyang 5,000, paghati-hatian niyo na, para ma-maintain ‘yung [cap]. ‘Di happy sila,” Tugade said in an ambush interview.
On Monday, the technical panel has recommended the termination of its study on motorcycle ride-hailing operations, ending it two months earlier without a clear explanation, declaring illegal all motorcycle taxis on the street.
The decision was heavily criticized by lawmakers, including Senator Grace Poe, who heads a Senate panel on public services.
But Senator Bong Go assured riders the pilot run will continue and there will be no arrests until the dispute is settled, and a law is passed authorizing the transport services.
During the executive session, it was also agreed that one of the players, Angkas, will withdraw its lawsuits against the DOTr after it allowed the increase in the cap on the number of riders.
Angkas had filed a temporary restraining order against the TWG’s decision to put a 30,000-biker cap to be distributed among the three.
The petition also sought the removal of JoyRide and Move It in the pilot study, which is set to end on the March 23.
“The cases was to put in a grievance on one of the provisions. Nagkausap na kami,” Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca said.
“I think everybody is involved in this endeavor. I think everybody wants to make it work for the riding community.” (Randell Ritumalta/MM)
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