THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) will be working with Angkas in a pilot test that will allow motorcycle taxis to temporarily operate in select areas across the country.

In a statement released Friday, the DoTr said the six-month pilot test for the general guidelines for motorcycle taxi operations in the Philippines will start in early June. It will be rolled out in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu. A public awareness campaign on the initiative is also set to commence concurrently.

“Ang isasagawang pilot implementation ng motorcycle taxi operations ang magsisilbing batayan ng mga panukalang batas sa Mataas at Mababang Kapulungan… kaugnay ng regulasyon ng motorcycle taxi industry sa bansa [The pilot implementation of motorcycle taxi operations will serve as a guide for legislation to be drafted by the Senate and House of Representatives… on regulating the motorcycle taxi industry in the country],” it said.

The recommendation comes from the technical working group (TWG) that the DoTr formed in December 2018, it said. The TWG has members from the Land Transportation Office, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, the Philippine National Police — Highway Patrol Group, the Metro Manila Development Authority, the Senate, the House of Representatives, commuter welfare groups, road safety advocates, motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle organizations, and law schools.

The initiative came after a tug of war between the government and Angkas on whether to allow the motorcycle ride-hailing company to operate. The Land Transportation and Traffic Code, or Republic Act No. 4136, currently does not allow single motorcycles to operate for public transport.

“Patunay ito na nakikinig ang gobyerno sa publiko. Patunay ito na bukas ang aming mga isip, [This is proof that the government listens to the public. This is proof of our open-mindedness],” Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said in the statement on the pilot test for motorcycle taxis.

Among the guidelines set for the pilot test are a 10-hour limit for daily operations of a motorcycle taxi, and a 60-kilometers per hour speed limit. The use of safety gear and having accident insurance are also required.

The fares will be based on a matrix drafted by the TWG. In Metro Manila, the first two kilometers will cost P50, and every succeeding kilometer up to the seventh will cost P10. If the ride goes beyond seven kilometers, every additional kilometer will cost P15. A 1.5x surge cap will also be allowed in case of a rise in demand.

In Metro Cebu, the first kilometer will cost P20, with a P16-per-kilometer rate for the next eight kilometers. A ride beyond eight kilometers will cost P20 per additional kilometer.

In a statement, Angkas Chief Executive Officer Angeline Tham welcomed the development that moves the company closer to being allowed to operate full time.

“We hope that the Angkas pilot will serve to show legislators and regulators the viability of this mode of transport so we can fully pass it into a law. We are set to launch in June once all operating procedures are finalized, so sit tight,” she said. — Denise A. Valdez