11 firms eye motorcycle ride-hailing biz

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    Eleven transport network companies (TNC) may have a chance to participate in the motorcycle ride-hailing services in the Philippines once this form of transportation is legalized.

    Antonio Gardiola, board director at the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and chairman of the technical working group (TWG) said currently, there are 11 applicants interested to offer motorcycle ride-hailing, including Grab Philippines which plans to review its Grab Bike.

    Under current transport laws, motorcycles are strictly prohibited from being utilized as public transportation.

    The ongoing motorcycle pilot study program being implemented by the TWG in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu will help Congress formulate a new law which would legalize motorcycles as a new mode of public transportation.

    The TWG was tasked to identify motorcycle types eligible to be licensed, taking into consideration factors like engine displacement, carrying capacity, operating speeds, routes, seat and helmet requirements, and training requirements for drivers.

    If legalized, motorcycle units used as public transportation will eventually need to obtain a public utility vehicle registration.

    Last February, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the amendment of certain provision of Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic code to legally allow motorcycle-for-hire.

    We Move Things Philippines, operator of Joyride, and Grab Philippines are optimistic of the legalization of motorcycle ride-hailing in the country.

    In a press conference at Joyride’s facility in Antipolo Rizal, company vice president for corporate affairs Noli Eala said the motorcycle has been proven as an alternative mode transportation.

    “We are optimistic… there are lawmakers supporting the idea. Right now, there’s no better alternative (for) mass transportation. Since all of these are still in the making… the trains and all of the other modes of transportation, there’s an urgent necessity to have (an)other  mode of transportation, motorcycle has proven it,” Eala said.

    Citing statistics, Eala said motorcycle ride-hailing now serves 20 percent of the commuters and the market remains untapped.

    Joyride together with Angkas and Moveit are part of  the extended motorcycle taxi pilot run until March this year, with the number of bikers capped at 30,000 in Metro Manila and 9,000 in Metro Cebu.

    Joyride is on its third week of operations with 1,800 active bikers, and will increase this to 3,500 by the end of the week and to 7,000 by end of the month as it continues to train bikers.

    “We will reach the 10,000 cap by middle of February,” Eala said.

    Joyride’s operation in Metro Cebu is expected to start end of January.

    Joyride said it will pursue cargo delivery business if and when motorcycle ride-hailing is not legalized.

    Joyride is funded by its P30-million paid up capital as  registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Meanwhile, Grab Philippines is keen to revive its GrabBike operation  in the country despite government’s earlier decision not to allow them to join the pilot run.

    “Grab would like to reiterate its interest in participating in the motorcycle taxi space to help provide affordable and agile transport solutions to hundreds of thousands of Filipino commuters,” the company said in a statement.

    Grab used to operate GrabBike in the Philippines until mid-2016 when the service was discontinued in compliance with the government regulations.

    “Grab is seriously considering to reinvest in the motorcycle taxi denomination and relaunch its GrabBike service in the Philippines, with the blessing of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the Department of Transportation.” Grab said.

    Grab Bike is Southeast Asia’s largest and safest bike ride hailing provider with 2.55 million bike rides and 1.49 million bike driver- partners.

    Meanwhile, Gardiola warned Angkas it may be blacklisted for operating outside the designated motorcycle taxi service pilot implementation study areas.

    Last week, several motorcycle units from Angkas were impounded, after their drivers were apprehended for operating as taxi service outside of the designated study area.

    Gardiola said Angkas was found operating in Cagayan de Oro and General Santos.