Senate panels okays use of motorcycle taxis as PUVs

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    THE Senate committees on public services and local government have endorsed for plenary approval proposals to allow the use of motorcycle taxis as public utility vehicles (PUVs).

    Sen. Grace Poe, Senate public service committee chair, said Committee Report No. 46 of Senate Bill No. 1341 or the proposed Motorcycles-for-Hire Act was signed by 16 senators.

    The report classifies motorcycles-for-hire as among the PUVs to be regulated by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

    “We are inching closer to having a law that will make motorcycle taxis a part of our public transportation system,” Poe said.

    Aside from Poe, the other authors of the SBN 1341 are Senate president pro tempore Ralph Recto and Senators Imee Marcos, Juan Edgardo Angara, Joel Villanueva, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Francis Tolentino.

    The bill defines motorcycles-for-hire as any two-wheeled motor vehicle registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) which transports passengers and goods on a for-hire basis, and which may utilize online ride hailing or pre-arranged transportation platforms.

    The motorcycle shall weigh less than 1,000 kilograms, can travel faster than 50 kilometers per hour, has a minimum engine displacement of 125 cubic centimeters, and a backbone-type built.

    Along with the vehicle registration, the motorcycles for hire shall secure a certificate of public convenience or a special permit from the LTFRB.

    The motorcycle taxis will fall under a classification of public utility automobiles along with public utility trucks, taxis and auto-calesas, garage automobiles, hire trucks and trucks owned by contractor and customs brokers and customs agents.

    The measure seeks to amend a provision of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code (Republic Act No. 4136).

    “We will continue looking for ways and means to improve the people’s mobility and assure their safety,” Poe said.

    Meanwhile, the inter-agency Technical Working Group (TWG) yesterday said it will start apprehending drivers who are not included in the master list of riders submitted by major motorcycle taxi players Angkas, JoyRide and MoveIt.

    TWG Chairman Antonio Gardiola Jr. said enforcers on the ground have been deployed to police motorcycle taxi riders and check if their names are among those accredited by the three firms.

    “If their names are not in the list they will be automatically be held, their motorcycles will be impounded and their licenses will be confiscated,” he said.

    TWG data shows that in Metro Manila, Angkas has 20,000 drivers registered; 6,836 drivers from MoveIt, and 15,000 for JoyRide.

    In Cebu, Angkas has 4,500 registered drivers, JoyRide has 4,588; while in Cagayan de Oro, 923 for Angkas and 176 for JoyRide.

    For Cebu and Cagayan de Oro, none registered for Moveit.

    The TWG will partner with the Highway Patrol Group (HPG), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT) in the implementation of the crackdown.

    The crackdown is in line with the pilot study that the TWG is doing to check the viability of having motorcycle taxis as PUVs.

    Gardiola warned the three major motorcycle taxi companies that if they blatantly violate guidelines set by the government, they will be blacklisted and banned.

    The three ride-hailing companies had until Wednesday to register their riders.

    MMDA general manager Jojo Garcia said its personnel are ready to provide assistance to the TWG.

    Garcia said the crackdown will also include illegal motorcycle taxis, or ‘habal-habal.’ – With Noel Talacay