On December 21, 2019, popular motorcycle taxi company Angkas posted a heart string tugging press release to expose the supposedly sinister moves of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the Interagency Technical Working Group meant to be assessing the safety of their transportation scheme. Angkas claimed that 17,000 of its 27,000 strong rider fleet would be left jobless in the Christmas season because of the cold and calculating moves of the TWG. Not only that, but the welfare and interests of the riding public would again be compromised because of uncaring and inconsiderate government actions.
It is clear – Angkas and their riders are “the good guys” against the villains of traffic and bad governance. Simple, right? So simple, that they were able to rally an entire army of supporters, including thousands of riders, to come to their #SaveAngkas gathering on December 22 at EDSA Shrine.
However, the same night that Angkas released their side of the story, the LTFRB released a statement that conflicted with the narrative Angkas’ PR team carefully constructed.
According to the LTFRB, the riding public need not worry at all – the number of motorcycle taxis will actually increase come the new year. Despite Angkas’ allegations, the number of riders on the road will increase to 39,000.
However, not all of these will be earning money for Angkas.
The original TWG only included riders from Angkas. Now, the TWG has extended the duration of the motorcycle taxi pilot implementation scheme from 23 December 2019 to 23 March 2019. With this extension, they also allowed two other services, namely MOVE-IT and JOY RIDE, to participate in the study.
Each of the three providers will have an allowance of 10,000 riders for Metro Manila and 3,000 for Metro Cebu.
This means commuters will actually have an easier time booking a ride since there would be another 12,000 riders on the roads. Not only that, but the competition between providers will give commuters options between fares and this should drive down prices.
“Nagdagdag tayo ng dalawang TNCs upang hindi ma-monoplize ang mga datos ng mga kalahok sa pag aaral na ito,” Reitred P/Maj. Gen. Antonio N. Gardiola Jr. of the LTFRB said.
Riders will also not be deprived of their livelihoods, even if the TWG is primarily focused on studying the safety of the service for commuters. Those who cannot find a slot within Angkas’ rider allotment can apply to the other companies.
Of course, Angkas and its supporters have said that this is unfair to riders who were expecting to work for Angkas. However, considering that the entire motorcycle taxi system is still being subjected to studies and implementation pilot schemes, it seems fair enough that these riders will be given time to find their preferred employers.
This is why the LTFRB had to tell Angkas to not “muddle” the issue. Why is this company getting upset with the government doing its job and introducing other providers? Did Angkas expect to have a monopoly on the motorcycle taxi service market? That would create another system like the disaster which is the Grab TNV service – no comparison for prices, no alternative providers, and no way to pressure the service to do better.
While Angkas is definitely providing good service to Filipino commuters, they are still a private company at the end of the day. They do not have any special privileges which let them have exclusive access to the streets during the TWG studies.
In short, there is no need to #SaveAngkas. Why should we save the interests of a private company over the good of the commuting public? If you cannot share the road, get off it.