TRANSPORT Secretary Arthur Tugade’s recent initiatives for the assessment of motorcycle taxi operations in the country ahead of its legalization and regulation have earned praise from government officials, transport advocates, commuters, and motorcycle riders.
Earning the monicker “Mr. Transpormer” from transport groups for his positive transformation initiatives in the local transport sector, Sec. Tugade earlier issued the directive to create a technical working group (TWG) to discuss issues in relation to the prospect of motorcycle taxis operating as public transport.
“Secretary Tugade’s creation of a technical working group is an important step in solving an issue that’s been plaguing the country for years,” Rep. Winnie Castelo said. “I’m pleased with this kind of decisive leadership from the DOTr and it shows they are sensitive to the needs of the people,” he added.
Rep. Castelo is the chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development. He has called several hearings on motorcycle taxi regulation in Metro Manila.
Seeing the public clamor on the legalization and regulation of motorcycle taxis, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade earlier issued the directive to create the TWG to discuss issues in relation to the prospect of motorcycle taxis operating as public transport.
“We at the DOTr know how to listen. So even if the SC has yet to issue a final ruling, we already formed a TWG to study the prospect of motorcycles serving as public transportation,” Sec. Tugade said in an earlier news report.
The TWG is headed by Undersecretary Mark de Leon and was comprised of other representatives from the DOTr, Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Senate, House of Representatives, commuter welfare groups, road safety advocates, motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle organizations, and law schools.
The TWG has met three times to discuss the appropriate standards and capacities of motorcycles for public transportation service, including determining the proper type of motorcycle that can be granted a franchise, the minimum Cubic Centimeter (CC) capacity of the motor, travel speed of motorcycle taxis, franchise route, seat and helmet requirements, and training requirements for motorcycle bikers looking to register as a Public Utility Vehicle driver. The TWG also discussed regulatory concerns on accountability for passenger safety in the event of an accident.
On their second meeting, the TWG did an on-site observation of Angkas’ touted safety training program that has resulted in their high safety standards.
After the three meetings, the TWG proposed to conduct a test run for motorcycle taxis ahead of their proposed legalization and regulation. The proposal is still up for Sec. Tugade’s approval.
Undersecretary de Leon said that the motorcycle taxi proposed pilot run is part of the efforts of the TWG to assess the viability of motorcycle taxis as public utility vehicles as well as to test the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) that the group is drafting.
In an earlier meeting of transport sector officials and industry players called by Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, he lauded Sec. Tugade for creating the TWG. Concepcion noted that the secretary has said that he is not against any mode of transportation as long as it is efficient, safe, and comfortable.
Angkas head of Regulatory and Public Affairs George Royeca likewaise praised the DOTr for the test run initiative. “We would like to thank the DOTr, especially Secretary Tugade and Undersecretary de Leon, for their selfless consideration of the plight of our commuters and motorcycle riders,” Royeca noted.