DOTr backs bill legalizing motorcycles-for-hire

MANILAThe Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday welcomed the proposed bill at the House of Representatives, which will amend provisions of the Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation Code to legalize motorcycle-for-hire services.

The DOTr believes this is the right step in order for motorcycles to function as a public transport service. The DOTr respects the legislative process this bill will undergo, as government policies are anchored on the power of the law, the DOTr statement said.

While RA 4136 prohibits motorcycles from operating as public transport services, various stakeholders in the transportation sector are pushing for the amendment of the law to enable motorcycles to provide public transport to commuters.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade ordered last December the creation of a technical working group (TWG) to review the issue of making motorcycles as a mode of public transport.

The TWG will conduct deliberations on various issues covering the capability of motorcycles and drivers for public transport service, which include determining the types of motorcycle that can be awarded a franchise, the minimum cubic centimeter (CC) capacity, travel speed, franchise routes, seat and helmet requirements, and training requirements for motorcycle bikers looking to register as a public utility vehicle driver.

Among other concerns are: whether the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) or local government units will issue the franchises for motorcycles; whether motorcycles may traverse municipal borders; registration of e-bikes or e-motorcycles as motorcycle taxis and safety issues particularly responsibilities and accountabilities in cases of accidents.

It is easy to say that motorcycle taxis are convenient and speedy as they can weave through traffic. However, when accidents involving passengers pile up and no accountabilities are made for the victims' funeral and hospitalization expenses, should the motorcycle driver or owner be allowed to simply walk away without any measure of responsibility? For the DOTr, passenger safety and security are paramount, the DOTr's statement read.

We will listen to all parties, and determine if legalizing motorcycle taxis is what's best for the riding public, it added.

The TWG, consisting of the DOTr, LTFRB, Land Transportation Office, Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group, Metro Manila Development Authority, and representatives from the Senate, House of Representatives, commuter welfare groups, road safety advocates, motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle organizations and law schools, will start deliberations on Friday.

The TWG will submit a report on its deliberations to Congress as inputs for lawmakers to decide on the proposed amendments to the Land Transportation Code.

The House Committee on Metro Manila Development, on the other hand, urged the DOTr to come up with a department order to regulate motorcycle ride-sharing services like Angkas, while waiting for the amendment of the law defining vehicles suitable for public transport.

Lawmakers said there is a need for motorcycle taxis such as Angkas to operate as public transport services amid growing passenger demand.

The Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order last December 5 against the decision of the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court to interfere with Angkas' operations.

It prevented the implementation of the writ of preliminary injunction issued by Judge Carlos Valenzuela of Mandaluyong RTC Branch 213 last August in favor of Angkas, which prohibited the DOTr and LTFRB from apprehending Angkas bikers.

Tugade directed the LTFRB to apprehend Angkas bikers, who deliberately defy the order of the high court. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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