FOUR bills are now pending in the Senate seeking to legalize the use of motorcycles as public utility vehicles, as worsening traffic and a lack of viable public transportation make daily commuting a nightmare for commuters.
Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara yesterday said he has filed Senate Bill No. 1025, or the proposed Motorcycles-for-Hire Actm which seeks to allow the use of motorcycles as “a commercial vehicle to transport passengers and goods.”
To be registered, the bill proposes that motorcycles-for-hire have a minimum engine displacement of 125 cubic centimeters and a backbone-type built.
The only allowable modification under the bill is the installation of a motorcycle luggage carrier, saddlebag, step board or foot peg, and the appropriate speed limiter or monitoring device.
Also under the measure, the Land Transportation Office will be required to ensure the roadworthiness of such motorcycles, while the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board will be in charge of issuing certificates of public convenience.
Angara noted that while motorcycle-hailing app Angkas was allowed to operate for six months as part of a pilot run, the use of motorcycles-for-hire remains banned under the 55-year old Land Transportation and Traffic Code.
“Commuting in Metro Manila has become very challenging. A typical commuter has to allocate at least two hours to get to work or school and that is if their regular modes of transport are available. What if the MRT breaks down? The 2 hours is not even enough,” he said.
He noted that motorcycles, locally known as habal-habal, are cheaper alternatives to taxis and cars hailed through apps like Grab.
“The demand for this service simply cannot be ignored, which is why I have filed a bill seeking to legalize the operation of motorcycles-for-hire,” he said.
Angara’s bill followed three similar measures filed by Sens. Ralph Recto, Grace Poe and Imee Marcos
Recto’s Senate Bill No. 50 and Poe’s Senate Bill No. 128 sought to impose more specific requirements: a weight of less than 1,000 kilograms and a traveling speed faster than 50 kilometers per hour.
Marcos’s Senate Bill No. 409 explicitly mentioned that motorcycles-for-hire may be operated independently or made available through a transport network vehicle service, like Angkas.
Her bill also proposed that motorcycles-for-hire be allowed to operate strictly within the territorial jurisdiction of specific local government units, seemingly defeating the purpose of using them for traveling across Metro Manila.