DOTr forms panel to review issue of motorcycles as public transport

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has created a technical working group (TWG) that will review the issue of making motorcycles as a mode of public transport.

DOTr secretary Arthur Tugade

In a statement on Friday, Dec. 21, the DOTr said the TWG will consist of the DOTr, Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Philippine National Police–Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and representatives of the Senate, House of Representatives, commuter welfare groups, road safety advocates, motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle organizations, and law schools.

DOTr secretary Arthur Tugade has directed the creation of the body amid the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court earlier this month to stop the operations of motorcycle ride-hailing firm Angkas.

“We understand that some of our commuters are patronizing motorcycles as public transport. But we must remember that there is a law against it and a TRO was issued by the Supreme Court. The law is the law and the executive will not be the first to violate it. But the DOTr is listening. That is why even if the Supreme Court has yet to come up with its decision, we are forming a TWG to study the possibility of making motorcycles as public transport),” Tugade said.

The TWG will conduct deliberations on various issues covering the capability of the motorcycles and drivers for public transport service such as:

  • The types of motorcycles to be permitted;
  • Acceptable travel speed of motorcycles for hire;
  • Whether to allow the motorcycles on all roads or be limited only to secondary roads or areas not serviced by large vehicles such as buses or trucks;
  • Seat and helmet requirements, and
  • Training for motorcycle bikers that will register as public utility vehicle drivers.

The SC issued a TRO last December 5 against the decision of the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court which earlier allowed Angkas to operate.

The SC decision prevented the implementation of the writ of preliminary injunction issued by Judge Carlos Valenzuela of Mandaluyong RTC Branch 213 last August in favor of Angkas, which prohibited the DOTr and LTFRB from apprehending Angkas bikers.

Tugade has ordered the LTFRB to apprehend Angkas bikers, who deliberately defy the order of the high tribunal.

Angkas bikers and operators proven to have continued their service will be meted a P6,000 fine and their vehicles impounded for three months. They will also be blacklisted from securing a franchise from the LTFRB.

Under Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, motorcycles are not allowed to operate as public transport services.

Various stakeholders in the transportation sector are pushing for the amendment of this law to enable motorcycles to provide public transport to commuters. — Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

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