If, like many commuters, you’ve found yourself scrambling to find mobility options amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent quarantine iterations that came with it, then consider this a bit of welcome news.
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has announced that the motorcycle taxi pilot run will resume on Monday, November 23, 2020. The government agency made the announcement yesterday, November 22, via its Facebook page.
Based on the directive of Department of Transportation secretary Arthur Tugade, the run will continue based on the compliance of the three approved motorcycle-taxi providers—Angkas, Move It, and JoyRide—to the safety guidelines outlined by The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF). A meeting was held on Thursday, November 19, to inform the three companies about the IATF’s protocols.
This development is the latest in the long-running saga between the government and the aforementioned transport providers. The pilot run began in July 2019 and was originally scheduled to end in December that year, before being extended to March 2020. Following the COVID-19 pandemic and the announcement of quarantine restrictions across the country, the run was suspended, and the intended development of motorcycle-taxi regulation was likewise halted.
Last October, the House Committee on Public Transportation approved a resolution for the resumption of the pilot run. Then, earlier this month, the IATF released operational guidelines for motorcycle taxis, which include the following:
- Both riders and passengers are required to wear face masks and protective gear.
- Passengers must bring their own full-face helmet and wear it with the visor closed.
- Riders and passengers must fill out health declaration forms via their respective motorcycle taxi apps.
- Motorcycle taxi providers must ensure a proper contact tracing protocol and a comprehensive safety campaign.
- Riders must wear a backriding shield during operations.
The shields in question are based on the design first proposed by Angkas several months ago. Each company has its own version of the shield, all sporting straps so riders can wear them on their backs, with a protective barrier in place intended to help prevent virus transmission.