Competition in bike ride-hailing raises safety, job losses concerns

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    Unity ride. Angkas riders hold a peaceful rally in front of the EDSA Kalayaan Shrine to protest the TWG’s decision to include two more motorcycle ride-hailing TNCs which they said would result in job losses among their ranks.
    Unity ride. Angkas riders hold a peaceful rally in front of the EDSA Kalayaan Shrine to protest the TWG’s decision to include two more motorcycle ride-hailing TNCs which they said would result in job losses among their ranks.

    The lone motorcycle ride-hailing service provider urged the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to exercise caution in allowing two more players to join the test run of the scheme saying these companies do not have track record and may endanger the safety of commuters.

    Angkas yesterday held a peaceful protest against the government’s decision to include two more players in the pilot test, saying this will also result in job losses among its bikers.
    Last Friday, the inter-agency Technical Working Group (TWG) on motorcycle taxis decided to allow JoyRide and Move It to join the extension of the  pilot implementation from December 23 and March 23, 2020.

    Angkas, JoyRide, and Move will participate in the extended pilot implementation with an overall allotted cap of 39,000 registered bikers — 10,000 bikers per transport network company (TNC) for Metro Manila and 3,000 bikers per TNC for Metro Cebu operations.

    In a two-page letter, George Royeca, Angkas head of regulatory and public affairs said that if safety is the regulator’s highest priority, other players should be allowed but that they must ramp up the number of bikers at a more steady pace until they can properly prove both their operational teams and app platforms are truly functional at scale.

    Angkas took three years to learn how to manage 27,000 bikers, yet the new players are expected to handle 10,000 in three months, the company said.

    “The TWG should be more cautious given these seemingly lower standards. While Angkas has trained 117,000 (bikers) in three years, it has failed over 70 percent of that to ensure very high and stringent standards resulting to only 27,000 remaining bikers to date,” Royeca added.

    Royeca also proposed to require participating companies to have dedicated emergency response teams with proper qualifications and also build their network of partner hospitals and doctors.

    “It should be noted that any new provider whose track record is lower than a 99.997 percent safety record should expect an even higher financial burden. The risks in allowing a new player to start immediately with 10,000 bikers are extremely high,” Royeca said.

    Royeca said 17,000 Angkas bikers will lose their livelihoods. Even if these bikers transfer to the two new players, neither of those have access to over three million app downloads to ensure continuous demand for their services.

    At present, Angkas has 27,000 bikers of which 22,000 operates in Metro Manila and 5,000 in Metro Cebu during the six months test period from July to December this year.

    Meanwhile, the inter-agency TWG formed to look into the safety of using motorcycle taxis brushed aside claims made by Angkas that some 17,000 bikers may lose their jobs next year as a result of the safety study to be conducted.

    TWG noted the inclusion of riders from Move-it and Joy Ride will assure that data gathered from the study will not be “monopolized” by just one TNC, such as Angkas. In addition, the TWG said, by allowing Move-it and Joy ride to participate in the study, commuters will be given more options in choosing their ride-hailing provider.

    Gardiola said the study to be conducted will look into the safety aspect of using motorcycles as a mode of public transportation, and is not bent on depriving motorcycle taxi riders of their livelihood as is being alleged by Angkas.

    LTFRB further said Angkas riders may be absorbed by other TNCs. “This is similar to the case of Grab and Uber before wherein all drivers were given freedom to choose which TNC they want to be accredited. Again, we do not want a monopoly in ride-hailing apps. We believe that competition is beneficial to the riding public.”