By Filane Mikee Cervantes
MANILA – A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Tuesday welcomed the decision of the inter-agency technical working group (TWG) of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to continue the pilot operation of the motorcycle taxis.
Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo said the initial move of the TWG to terminate the motorcycle taxis’ pilot run would create barriers that prevent transport alternatives to enter in the market.
“At this point, the reason why Angkas, JoyRide, and Move It can operate is precisely because they are the subjects of the pilot study. Hence, LTFRB’s (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) move to withdraw the study is tantamount to putting up what competition authorities call a “barrier to entry,” Quimbo said.
“Specifically, LTFRB would put up a barrier to entry in the market for on-demand and platform-based private transport, which includes Grab. Because Angkas and other operators potentially compete against Grab, this barrier to entry would provide the latter an undue advantage,” she added.
She said while consumer safety is “paramount”, such objectives must also be balanced with competition principles.
“The purpose of the pilot study is to determine the appropriate regulatory intervention to ensure passenger safety. In the process, it should not kill jobs, narrow consumer choice, or eradicate market options that have the potential to effectively compete with transportation options such as Grab.” Quimbo said.
“Kung ang tunay na kakampi ng LTFRB ay ang riding public, tatapusin nila ang pag-aaral na may layunin na maghanap ng agarang solusyon sa problema ng kakulangan at nagmamahal na public transportation (If LTFRB is indeed an ally of the riding public, it would complete the pilot study with the end goal of finding a prompt solution to the challenges faced by the Philippine public transportation system),” she added.
DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said although the TWG has earlier recommended terminating the pilot study due to legal impediments caused by one of the players in the motorcycle taxi space, Tugade said he would reconsider the extension if all players agree on the rider caps and location guidelines set by the DOTr.
In December, the TWG extended the pilot study on motorcycle taxis and released a revised guideline which included a 30,000-rider cap for Metro Manila and 9,000 for Metro Cebu and the inclusion of two other approved service providers. (PNA)