Last updated on December 11th, 2019 at 02:22 am
“The commuting public should not be used as guinea pigs by fly-by-night motorcycle taxi operators with zero track record,” said Atty. Ariel Inton of the Lawyers for Commuter Safety and Protection (LCSP) which filed a petition to restrain various groups from operating motorcycle taxis.
In a press conference held Monday, Atty. Ariel Inton, including two other lawyers Attorneys Raymond Fortune and Vicente Jayme (VJ) Topacio, speaking in behalf of LCSP, said that the commuter safety advocates have filed a petition for injunction with the application for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction against five motorcycle taxi companies:
We Move Things Philippines Inc. (Joyride), Habal Rides Corp., I-Sabay, Sampa-Dala Corp., and Trans-Serve Corp.
The petition stated that their operations are unauthorized and may cause grave and substantial damage to the public.
Inton, a former Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) member, said that the LCSP’s main thrust is to promote commuter safety and uphold the rights of commuters, road users and pedestrians to a safe mode of transportation. As such, Inton stated, it has an absolute right to prevent respondents from organizing its fleet of motorcycles for hire and avert its operations which prejudice the riding public.
According to the petition letter that the LCSP submitted to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City Tuesday, December 3, “Combined, thousands of motorcycles illegally booking and transporting passengers ply the roads, unduly exposing petitioners’ members to road hazards and increased risk of accidents.”
Inton stressed that motorcycle taxi operations are being conducted outside of the pilot program of the DoTr, defeating entirely the essence of the ongoing pilot testing and exposing the riding public to grave risks.
“We have requested an immediate restraining order to prevent grave and irreparable damage to the riding public in general, and to the pilot program in particular,” stressed Atty. Raymond Fortun of LCSP declared. “Moreover, any accident during this critical period will also sabotage the pilot program,” he added.
Early this year, the House of Representatives passed Resolution No. 2449 urging the DoTr to implement a pilot program allowing, monitoring, and regulating the operation of duly registered and organized motorcycles-for-hire as an alternative public transport utility.
The DoTr then instructed various agencies to form a Technical Working Group (TWG) composed of stakeholders and experts from the government and the private sector to discuss issues attendant to the prospect of two-wheel vehicles operating as public transport.
Atty. Inton is also a member of this TWG and participated in the assessment sessions held prior to the recommendation of the pilot run.
The TWG was tasked to identify motorcycle types eligible to be licensed, taking into consideration factors like engine displacement, carrying capacity, operating speeds, routes, seat and helmet requirements, and training requirements for drivers, who will eventually need to obtain a public utility vehicle (PUV) registration.
Upon the recommendation of the TWG, the DoTr allowed the six-month pilot test for motorcycle taxi operations in the Philippines starting in July of this year. Since only the motorcycle ride-hailing app Angkas had been established and operating with an eight-month track record at the time, Angkas became the sole subject of the pilot program which will end in December.
The five motorcycle taxi companies who are identified as the respondents in the LCSP petition are neither accredited by the TWG nor part of the pilot program.
“It has also come to my attention that the TWG, in which I am also a member, has been deciding on certain matters without some of its members,” Inton revealed. “Since the start of the pilot run, I have never been invited to meetings and discussions and now I heard that they have been convening, which is not only irregular but rather suspicious and unacceptable,” he added.