We all know how disastrous and chaotic commuting in the Philippines is—day and night, traffic always welcomes every commuter, adding more stress and burden to their everyday struggles. Commuters are sick and tired of dealing with transportation problems, but, do the masses have a choice? The morning rush is hella unbearable, trains are inconsistent and unpredictable, not everyone can afford private cars or pay for taxis like Grab, and even jeepneys are usually loaded with passengers, making it more difficult for the public to commute. Traffic has also been a major issue in the country for a very, very long time; it will consume two to three hours or more of your time when commuting.
Thanks to the existence of motorcycle taxis that have become the commuters’ savior. Filipinos somehow felt at ease and found an alternative solution as the traffic gets worse in the country. Angkas is the most popular motorcycle ride-hailing and delivery services app in the Philippines with over 17,000 bikers and 3 million app downloads. It faced complaints and several attempts of getting banned in the country due to business permits, defiance of guidelines, and violating the terms and conditions of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). Angkas surpassed all these challenges as they released an online petition accompanied with campaigns and unity rides to show their support for motorcycle taxis, prove themselves, and fight for their rights.
It seems like motorcycle taxis are about to bid farewell for real this time after the inter-agency technical working group (TWG) terminated its study—without releasing any data to counter—on motorcycle riding apps as alternative public transport. The pilot run of motorcycle taxis was supposed to end in March. According to TWG head Antonio Gardiola Jr., the recommendation to terminate the pilot run ahead of time was endorsed by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade. Starting next week, all motorcycle taxis will be considered illegal and will not be allowed to operate—making thousands of motorbikers lose their livelihood. Aside from the motorbikers, commuters who rely on motorcycle taxis will again endure the torture of traffic and commuting. As of the moment, motorbikers are conducting a protest to fight for their right to continue to serve the public as motorcycle taxis.
Recently, controversial and “government-owned” motorcycle ride firms JoyRide and Move It tried to capitalize on the pioneer motorcycle taxi business, which received backlash from users and netizens. It might be one of the factors why all motorcycle taxis will be terminated. Maybe it is an act of revenge, since the Department of Transportation-technical working group (DOTr-TWG) failed to push it through? Despite the controversies, people behind the new motorcycle taxis branded it as “fake news” and asserted that there are no government officials in their management when, in fact, their riders joined the pro-government rally organized by the Quezon City Duterte Gladiators.
The government is not taking the public transport system issues seriously and they’d rather choose to eradicate motorcycle taxis than provide long-term solutions. Heck, they can’t even admit that the country is facing a mass transport crisis. May this urge the public to continue to demand for a better transport system. After all, Filipinos don’t deserve to wake up at 4 a.m. for an 8 a.m. class or work schedule and get home around 10 p.m.
Are you one of those commuters who count on motorcycle taxis just to make it on time? Share with us your daily commute struggle!
UPDATE: Few days after the termination, it was announced that motorcycle taxis will continue to operate under DOTr’s pilot testing. TWG head Antonio Gardiola said that they will discuss the guidelines of the pilot program with the motorcycle taxi providers. People are confused with the sudden change of decision, but knowing the indecisiveness and inconsistency of the administration, this may be reversed again. For now, let’s just hope for the best!