Cebu transport officials brace for significant traffic impact for return of habal-habal

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Credit: Read the original article from Cebu Daily News Headlines.

TRAFFIC BUSTER. An Angkas rider ferries a commuter.

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Transport officials in Cebu are still waiting for orders from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the resumption of the pilot testing for motorcycle taxis in the three metropolia in the country, but they expect a significant impact on the streets upon their return.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque revealed on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, that Malacañan has given the go-signal for the resumption of the pilot testing of selected motorcycle taxis including Angkas and Joyride.

This means that app-based motorcycle taxis will once again ply the streets of Metro Cebu especially in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTFRB-7) Regional Director Eduardo Montealto, Jr., said that as the guidelines have not been released to them by the DOTr, they are still in the dark as to what role the agency would be playing in the implementation.

He said that the motorcycle taxis have been placed under the jurisdiction of the Land Transportation Office in Central Visayas (LTO-7) although they would also be involved in the monitoring along with the local government units (LGU).

“Kung sa ready ba (ang Cebu) para sa habal-habal, depende gyod na sa implementation kay sauna grabe gyod to ka traffic naa sila. Ang discipline man gud, ambot if naimprove na ba. Naa gyoy risk,” said Montealto.

(Whether Cebu is ready for the motorcycle taxis or not, really depends on the implementation because before the traffic was heavy when they were still around. It’s about the discipline if they improved. There is always a risk.)

Montealto urged the LGUs to seriously regulate the motorcycle taxis should they be allowed to return to the streets in Cebu.

LTO-7 Director Victor Caindec, for his part, said that the concern is more on the side of health instead of traffic.

The public must be more conscious of the health impact of the motorcycle taxis because it is not yet determined how much would be the risk of COVID-19 spread using this transportation mode.

Still, Caindec said there is a necessity to augment public transportation now because with the buses and jeepneys only carrying half capacity, there is a huge gap between supply and demand for public transportation.

“With reduced capacities nga on going pa gihapon, that (motorcycle taxis) will help the mobility of the public. But di lang sad nato kalimtan nga to be more conscious of protecting people from the virus,” said Caindec.

(With reduced capacities still ongoing, that will help the mobility of the public. But we should not forget to be more conscious of protecting the people from the virus.)

He added that implementing the health measures set for these motorcycle taxis would be the best course of action for a safer resumption of pilot testing operations.

Both the LTFRB-7 and the LTO-7 still await instructions from the DOTr on how they would go about the return of the motorcycle taxis in Metro Cebu.

In the guidelines released by Malacañan, additional health protocols have been set for the operation of the motorcycle taxis including the prohibition of catering to persons with disabilities (PWDs), children covered by the Republic Act 10666 or the law banning children from riding motorcycles, and those who are not compliant to the required motorcycle passenger health protocols.

Here are the other guidelines that the Interagency Task Force and the national government has set for the motorcycle taxis:

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