You’ve seen it on the news, you’ve heard it on the radio, and you’ve received the quirky notification that says: Angkas is back!
As announced by the government’s Motorcycle Taxi Technical Working Group or TWG on Tuesday, motorcycle ride-hailing services have been granted a provisional authority to operate as part of the group’s extended motorcycle taxi pilot study. This also comes as an effort to supplement the struggling capacity of public transportation plying Metro Manila roads during the pandemic.
Oh, Angkas is back, all right.
And they’re joined by fellow motorcycle ride-hailing app, JoyRide. Another firm offering the same service, MoveIt, has also submitted its letter of compliance subject to TWG’s approval. This brings it to about 10,000 motorcycle riders ready to accept bookings from Metro Manila commuters.
But here’s the small caveat: the provisional authority is only effective until December 9, and only covers Metro Manila. Whether the TWG will decide to extend this authority may be publicized as the end date nears.
Also, only around 6,400 Angkas riders have been cleared to return to the fleet. This is far from the previous total of around 27,000 that plied Metro Manila roads before the pandemic hit earlier this year. Nonetheless, Angkas Chief Transport Advocate George Royeca has said that more riders will be available for booking as soon as the company can conduct more RT-PCR swab tests for its drivers.
Angkas also reiterated its commitment to commuter safety, ensuring that its riders underwent a refresher course on the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Diseases’ (IATF) approved safety guidelines. This includes requiring their passengers to bring their own helmet with a visor, disinfecting their motorcycles after every trip, and implementing a 100% cashless transaction to limit the interaction between the passenger and the driver.
As quarantine measures ease and more commuters come back to work, Angkas’ return is definitely a welcome development. Here’s hoping that the government finally legalizes motorcycle ride-hailing firms as a legitimate transportation option.