Motorcycle ride-hailing firm Angkas is eyeing to start the six-month pilot run of its operations by the end of June, as the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) has expressed its support, saying it is strongly aligned with their mandate of helping Filipinos safely traverse the streets.
HPG chief, Brig. Gen. Roberto Fajardo, said their mandate is to ensure the safety of the metro’s highways for the benefit of commuters and motorists alike, and part of that mandate is to help ensure the smooth and safe flow of traffic in our streets.
“We support Angkas, as well as all the transport operators legally franchised by the LTFRB, because it is a service that helps the commuters in safely going to and from their destinations. The HPG and Angkas have the same objective and therefore we need to support each other,” Fajardo told reporters during the press briefing for the turnover of Angkas’ donation of 50 brand-new, high-quality helmets to the HPG, which was held at the HPG office in Camp Crame, Quezon City yesterday, June 24.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) recently gave the green light to implement the pilot run of Angkas in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu for six months starting this June.
Prior to this, the DOTr organized a Technical Working Group to discuss and conduct studies of Angkas’ operations, particularly its safety training program for their motorcycle rider-partners.
The pilot run aims to assess the safety level of motorcycle taxis and was recommended by the technical working group created by DOTr to study the issue of legalizing motorcycles as public utility vehicles.
Fajardo said that Angkas bikers have also been participating in the HPG’s own Motorcycle Riders Safety training program.
“In their own little way, and in line with Angkas’ social responsibility, they send their own riders to join our safety training,” Fajardo noted.
He also commended Angkas’ own safety training program.
“Maganda nga ang may training dahil magiging katuwang natin sila, magiging example of a disciplined motorcycle rider,” Fajardo stressed.
Fajardo also described the HPG’s partnership with Angkas as a joint effort to work for the benefit of the commuters and the motorists.
“We work hand in hand for the safety, security, and discipline of the motorists,” he stressed.
Fajardo also said that the donated helmets will be part of the HPG riders’ new uniform and will be the perfect tandem for the new BMW motorcycles that the HPG riders will soon be riding on.
Angkas founder and CEO Angeline Tham talked about their partnership with HPG, saying, “HPG is out every day protecting our streets and since safety is also paramount to Angkas, we join them in their effort to make the street safer for the general public.”
According to Angkas Regulatory and Public Affairs head George Royeca, the donation is part of their safety advocacy.
“Have always been vocal about the company’s advocacy for the safety of both the bikers and the passengers. Our donation to the HPG is in line with that advocacy, and which we hope will, in some way, contribute to the safety of our friends from the HPG as they patrol our highways and make them safe,” Royeca said.
“This is just the start of a partnership with HPG which we hope will expand to cover other areas that promote and improve road safety,” he added.
Angkas will retrain its 27,000 accredited biker-partners through rigorous riding skills assessments, written tests, and extensive safety training to ensure they meet very high safety standards in preparation for the pilot operation. It intends to train 2,000 drivers a day.
“Currently, we have retrained 12,000 drivers so we still need to train additional 15,000 more to fully train the 27,000 before we can launch the pilot,” said Angkas operations head David Medrana.
The company will provide special reflectorized vests with side straps to help bikers become more visible at night and aid passengers in holding on to the biker’s waist. Each vest has the biker’s unique ID number, ensuring that only officially-registered bikers can take ride bookings.
All Angkas biker-partners and their passengers are also insured for every ride.
A feedback mechanism is also installed in its mobile app to closely monitor the performance of drivers and quickly address passenger concerns.
Royeca hopes that Congress will be able to pass a law that will legalize motorcycle taxis after the six-month pilot run.
“I think even before the six months are over, we hope to refile the bill in Congress and in Senate. We hope to have a very healthy dialogue with the committee on public services in Senate and the committee on transportation in Congress so that we can update them on a regular basis on the operations of the pilot program,” Royeca said.
The motorcycle ridesharing firm assured passengers that it will not impose fare increases amid the implementation of its safety features.
Motorcycle taxis shall have a fare of PHP50 for the first two kilometers, an additional PHP10 per kilometer until seven kilometers, additional PHP15 for succeeding kilometers, and a surge rate cap of 1.5x in Metro Manila based on the guidelines set by the DOTr.
The initial charge will be PHP20 for the first kilometer, an additional PHP20 per kilometer up to eight kilometers, and PHP20 per kilometer for destinations beyond eight kilometers in Metro Cebu.
Angkas will also not add motorcycle taxis during the pilot operation.
Motorcycles are currently prohibited from operating as public transport services under Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation Code.