By Denise A. Valdez, January 16 2019; Business World

Image Credit to Philippine Star

THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said it welcomes moves to legalize motorcycle taxis via the filing of a bill at the House of Representatives seeking to amend the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

In a statement on Wednesday, the agency said it “welcomes the bill” and thinks it is “the right step in order for motorcycles to function as a public transport service.”

The House Committee on Metro Manila Development approved in principle on Monday a House Resolution urging the DoTr and its agencies, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Land Transportation Office (LTO), to allow motorcycle taxis to operate.

In mid-December, the LTFRB stopped the operations of motorcycle-hailing company Angkas after it received a Supreme Court decision allowing it to apprehend violators of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

The Land Transportation and Traffic Code, or Republic Act No. 4136, does not allow single motorcycles to operate for public transport, the business model proposed by Angkas.

The LTFRB and DoTr maintained that for Angkas and similar operators to be allowed to hit the road, the law has to be amended by Congress.

Before 2018 ended, the DoTr formed a technical working group (TWG) to study and submit to Congress a report on how to amend the land transportation policy. The TWG is set to start discussions on Friday.

“Through the TWG, discussions will be made on the capacities required of a motorcycle and its driver for public transport service,” it said.

The DoTr noted thorough study is needed to identify specifications for units serving as motorcycle taxis, including the types of motorcycle eligible for a franchise, travel speed and routes, among others.

“We will listen to all parties, and determine if legalizing motorcycle taxis is what’s best for the riding public,” it added. — Denise A. Valdez