By Hannah Torregoza
With traffic in Metro Manila getting worse by the day, Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara urged the government to consider legalizing the operations of “motorcycle-for-hire” in order to ease commuters’ woes on everyday traffic.
Angara noted that “motorcycles-for-hire” have long been around. Some provinces even consider motorcycles as a primary mode of public transportation.
“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,” Angara said in a statement.
Angara cited the case of Angkas, which was allowed to operate for six months starting last June 8 as part of a pilot-run of “motorcycle taxis.”
“Traffic in Metro Manila is getting worse by the day, the mass transit systems are constantly breaking down and many commuters are left with no choice but to use motorcycles-for-hire or ‘habal-habal’ to get from point A to point B,” he pointed out.
“Technically, this increasingly-popular mode of transport is still considered illegal under the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, which covers the registration and operation of all motor vehicles in the country,” he said.
Angara acknowledged that commuting in Metro Manila has become very challenging as a typical commuter has to allocate at least two hours to get to work or school.
There is also no guarantee if their regular modes of transport are available. “What if the MRT breaks down? Kulang pa ang 2 oras mo sa byahe,” Angara pointed out.
“Tulad nitong nangyari sa LRT-2 na nasunog. Libo libong Pilipino ang naperwisyo nito at karamihan sa kanila ay habal na ang sinasakyan para mas mabilis makarating sa destinasyon nila at mas mura din ito kumpara sa Grab, (like what happened here in the LRT-2 which was forced to stop operations after a blaze. Thousands of Filipinos were inconvenienced here and most of them resorted to motorcycles for hire so they can reach their destination faster. It’s also cheaper than Grab,)” said the senator.
Angara noted that Under Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, motorcycles are prohibited from being listed as a vehicle for hire, as the law only allows the registration of motorcycles for private or government use.
“However, individuals and even unaccredited transport groups, continue to utilize motorcycles for public transport despite explicit prohibition of such operation under the same law,” Angara said.
Angara earlier filed Senate Bill No. 1025 which seeks to amend the Land Transportation and Traffic Code to allow motorcycles to be registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) as vehicles ‘for hire’ and may be used as a commercial vehicle to transport passengers and goods.
Under the bill, a motorcycle must have a minimum engine displacement of 125 cubic centimeters and a backbone-type built in order to be registered for transporting passengers.
The measure mandates the LTO to ensure the roadworthiness of motorcycles-for-hire before they are registered.
Based on the bill, no modifications on the motorcycles will be allowed to ensure the safety of the driver and passenger—except for the installation, based on safe engineering design specifications, of motorcycle luggage carriers, saddlebags, step boards or footpegs and appropriate speed limiter and monitoring device.