AN inter-agency technical working group (TWG) on Friday decided to extend the pilot program for motorcycle taxis to March, and took in two more industry entrants.

In a statement, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said the TWG on motorcycle taxis met with short-listed companies on Friday for the extension of the pilot program, which will end on Dec. 26.

“Pursuant to the mandate of the TWG, after careful evaluation, inspection, and validation of the overall operational readiness of the applicants, an additional (2) providers — JoyRide and Move It, were chosen to (participate) in the extension of the MC (Motorcycle) Taxi Pilot Implementation,” it said.

The two companies will join Angkas (DBDOYC, Inc.) in the extended pilot program “starting 23 December 2019 up to 23 March 2020 with an overall allotted cap of thirty-nine thousand (39,000) registered bikers — ten thousand (10,000) bikers per Transport Network Company (TNC) for Metro Manila and three thousand (3,000) bikers per TNC for Metro Cebu operations,” the LTFRB said.

The regulator said that six motorcycle taxi firms had submitted their proposals to the TWG to be included in the pilot program.

“Upon initial qualification, four (4) companies were considered, evaluated, and inspected in terms of company profile, operational plans, facilities and equipment as basis of their compliance,” it said.

The transportation department earlier said that it heard proposals on Nov. 20 from six new motorcycle taxi companies: Citimuber, JoyRide, MoveIt, EsetGo, Sakay, and VroomGo.

Commuter rights associations called last week for a Congressional hearing into the decisions made behind the scenes by government agencies regarding the extension of the pilot program for motorcycle taxi services, claiming they were not consulted on the matter.

A group has also asked a Quezon City court to stop We Move Things Philippines, Inc. (Joyride), Habal Rides Corp., I-Sabay, Sampa-Dala Corp. and Trans-Serve Corp. from operating, claiming such companies are inadequately organized and expose their customers to undue risk. — Arjay L. Balinbin