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2 Senate committees OK motorcycle taxi operations

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola 

Two Senate committees have recommended to allow and regulate the operations of motorcycle taxis in the country.

At least 16 senators have signed the joint report of the Committees on Public Services and Local Government containing Senate Bill No. 1341, the proposed Motorcycles-for-Hire Act, which would classify motorcycle taxis as among public utility vehicles regulated by the government.

"Angkas" riders (RIO LEONELLE DELUVIO / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO)

(RIO LEONELLE DELUVIO / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO)

The bill, which was released on Wednesday, February 13, was a consolidation of the proposals filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, and Senators Grace Poe, Juan Edgardo Angara, Imee Marcos, Ramon Revilla Jr., Francis Tolentino, and Joel Villanueva.

SB No. 1341 seeks to amend Republic Act No. 4136, the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, to legalize the operations of motorcycles-for-hire, including app-based motorcyle-hailing services.

The law currently prohibits the use of motorcycles for transporting passengers.

Under the bill, a motorcycle-for-hire is defined “as any two-wheeled motor vehicle registered with the Land Transportation Office, which transports passengers and goods on a for-hire basis, and which may utilize online ride hailing or pre-arranged transportation platforms.”

But only motorcycles that weigh less than 1,000 kilograms can travel faster than 50 kilometers per hour, have a minimum engine displacement of 125 cubic centimeters, and a backbone-type built, will be allowed to transport commuters.

Along with the vehicle registration, the motorcycles-for-hire shall secure a certificate of public convenience or a special permit from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

“We are inching closer to having a law that will make motorcycle taxis a part of our public transportation system,” Poe, chairperson of the public services panel, said in a statement.

Motorcycle taxis are presently being allowed to operate amid the Department of Transportation’s study on their viability as a public transport mode.

The motorcycle taxi pilot run was meant to help Congress in crafting legislation to legalize their operations as public utility vehicles. It started in June 2019, and was extended until March 23 this year, covering Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro as pilot areas.

Poe is expected to sponsor the bill for plenary discussion.
“We will continue looking for ways and means to improve the people’s mobility and assure their safety,” she said.

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