JOYRIDE plans to expand outside Metro Manila and set up shop in Cebu ahead of the March 23 termination of the study that allows motorcycle taxis to operate.

In a press conference on Tuesday, officials of We Move Things Philippines Inc., the corporate name of JoyRride, said they were studying setting up facilities in Cebu. The expansion is part of the company’s P30-million initial investment.

“Part of the negotiations is for us to build a facility in Cebu, so ‘yun ang pinag-uusapan namin ngayon (that’s what we are talking about now),” JoyRide Vice-President for Corporate Affairs Jose Emmanuel “Noli” M. Eala said.

But he said he was not sure whether the facilities would be ready before the March deadline.

“We’re still negotiating all the facilities, kung saan namin gagawin ‘yung aming opisina (where we will put up our office),” he said.

Mr. Eala, after a media tour of JoyRide’s facilities in Antipolo, called the business venture a calculated risk.

Ang masasabi namin, (What we can say is,) how can we push government to act on this favorably if we will not provide them with services like this, facilities like this… We are trying to convince government that we can make this industry safe,” he said.

“Unless some very enterprising businessmen take this calculated risk in business, then hindi po matutuloy ito. (this will not continue),” he added.

The inter-agency technical working group studying motorcycle taxis will present its data to the government at the end of the pilot program, ahead of changes to a law prohibiting the use of motorcycles in transporting passengers for a fee.

Ito po ay nasa study pa lamang tayo. Nasa period pa lang tayo ng data gathering. Hindi pa po ito talaga actual na negosyo. Hihintayin po namin ‘yung batas, (We are still doing a study. We’re at the period of data gathering. This is not yet an actual business. We will wait for the law).” Mr. Eala said.

He said that if the law is not amended to their favor, then the business will move towards food delivery. The company’s delivery drivers are separate from JoyRide drivers.

JoyRide said that rides are currently not subject to fare surges. But the continuation of this pricing scheme is not assured if the government officially classifies the motorcycle taxis as public utility vehicles.

Pag naging batas na ‘yan, siyempre ma-re-regulate ‘yan. So susunod kami sa sinabi na presyo ng gobyerno, (When this becomes law, of course it will be regulated. So we will follow the pricing set by government),” Business Development Adviser Edwin D. Rodriguez said in an interview after the press conference.

Asked if JoyRide will retain the no-surge pricing, he said: “Hindi ko masabi, kasi kung ano sinabi ng gobyerno (I can’t say, because whatever the government says) we will just have to comply. But as it is right now, we can assure the public and the government that JoyRide will not charge any surge charge.” — Jenina P. Ibañez