By Aerol John Patena, PNA
MANILA — Motorcycle ride-hailing firm Angkas is eyeing to start the six-month pilot run of its operations by the end of June as it trains its drivers to ensure road safety and improve the services for its riders.
“Sana po by third week or last week of June makapaglarga kasi promise natin sa publiko na June ang pilot (Hopefully we could start by third week or last week of June because we promised to the public that June will be the pilot),” said Angkas regulatory and public affairs head George Royeca in a press conference on Thursday.
“The purpose of the pilot is really to assess the different safety guidelines this is ongoing even as we continue our operations. So if there are safety guidelines that are needed to be tweaked in the middle of the operation of the pilot, we will be tweaking it,” he added.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has approved last May the pilot implementation of motorcycle taxi operations for six months in Metro Manila and Cebu.
The pilot run aims to assess the safety level of motorcycle taxis and was recommended by a technical working group created by DOTr to study the issue of legalizing motorcycles as public utility vehicles.
Angkas will retrain its 27,000 accredited biker-partners through rigorous riding skills assessments, written tests, and extensive safety training to ensure they meet very high safety standards in preparation for the pilot operation. It intends to train 2,000 drivers a day.
“Currently, we have retrained 12,000 drivers so we still need to train additional 15,000 more to fully train the 27,000 before we can launch the pilot,” said Angkas operations head David Medrana.
The company will provide special reflectorized vests with side straps to help bikers become more visible at night and aid passengers in holding on to the biker’s waist. Each vest has the biker’s unique ID number ensuring that only officially-registered bikers can take ride bookings.
All Angkas biker-partners and their passengers are also insured for every ride.
A feedback mechanism is also installed on its mobile app to closely monitor the performance of drivers and quickly address passenger concerns.
Royeca hopes that Congress will be able to pass a law that will legalize motorcycle taxis after the six-month pilot run.
“I think even before the six months are over, we hope to refile the bill in Congress and in Senate. We hope to have a very healthy dialogue with the Committee on Public Services in Senate and the Committee on Transportation in Congress so that we can update them on a regular basis on the operations of the pilot program,” Royeca said.
The motorcycle ridesharing firm assured passengers that it will not impose fare increases amid the implementation of its safety features.
Motorcycle taxis shall have a fare of PHP50 for the first two kilometers, an additional PHP10 per kilometer until seven kilometers, additional PHP15 for succeeding kilometers, and a surge rate cap of 1.5x in Metro Manila based on the guidelines set by the DOTr.
The initial charge will be PHP20 for the first kilometer, an additional PHP20 per kilometer up to eight kilometers, and PHP20 per kilometer for destinations beyond eight kilometers in Metro Cebu.
Angkas will also not add motorcycle taxis during the pilot operation.
Motorcycles are currently prohibited from operating as public transport services under Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation Code. (PNA)