NEW KING OF THE ROAD - PT2 | SunStar



New King of the Road

SunStar Philippines, the digital unit of the SunStar network of community newspapers, looks into the habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) phenomenon as this ubiquitous two-wheeler invades the highly congested urban areas. This is the second of three parts of a multimedia report on the new "king of the road.


PART II


Motorcycles on the rise

By Jay Ann C. Ramirez
Multimedia Editor
SunStar Philippines

LIKE other developing countries, the Philippines is seeing an increase in motorcycles.

In Metro Cebu in central Philippines, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has reported an uptrend in the renewal of motorcycle registrations. From 159,574 renewals recorded in 2014, the number went up to 172,671 in 2015 and 176,411 in 2016.

The low downpayment, affordable loan terms and fast processing have made it easier for the low- and middle-income sectors to acquire a unit, according to a motorcycle dealer.

Orlando Villaflores, branch manager of Honda in the city, told SunStar Philippines that most of their customers buy their motorcycles because of the brand's cheaper prices, good quality, for personal use, and for business reasons.

Motorcycle registration renewal in Metro Cebu in 2016
ADVANTAGES. Orlando Villaflores, branch manager of Honda Motor Company in Cebu City, says clients prefer their brand because they are cheaper and have good quality. (SunStar Philippines Photo/CIT-U Intern Aljun Cainghog)
ADVANTAGES. Orlando Villaflores, branch manager of Honda Motor Company in Cebu City, says clients prefer their brand because they are cheaper and have good quality. (SunStar Philippines Photo/CIT-U Intern Aljun Cainghog)

The shop's most in-demand units are the XRM 125 Dual Sport, which costs P64,000, Honda Wade 110 Alpha Spoke (P44,900), and the Honda Wade 110 Alpha Cast (P46,800).

He said most of their customers come from Cebu City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, Minglanilla, and Talisay City.

He said a customer can acquire a motorcycle by paying for it in cash or through loan.

Example, if a customer pays for an XRM 125 unit (P64,000) in cash, he can avail himself of a P500 discount which will lower the price to P63,500.

The unit can be released on the same day of purchase, according to Villaflores.

But if a customer wants to take out a loan to purchase a motorcycle, he has to fill out a CI (Credit Investigation) form that will be subject to approval.

Once the customer's CI form is approved, he will have to submit requirements like cedula, barangay clearance, 2x2 picture, proof of billing like a payslip, electricity or water bill, and his co-maker's 2x2 picture and two valid identification cards.

The processing of requirements for a loan usually takes at least three days depending on the availability of the personnel approving the documents.

The customer will also be asked to give a downpayment, which usually costs around P4,000, and choose different payment terms -- six months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, 30 months and 36 months -- and pay monthly installments.

Once the application is approved, the customer will sign a contract before the motorcycle is released.

Payment of the monthly installment, which usually amounts to around P3,000, starts in the following month.

AFFORDABLE. Motorcycles are on display at a store in downtown Cebu City. For those who cannot afford cars, motorcycles present a viable alternative. (SunStar Philippines Photo/CIT-U Intern Aljun Cainghog)
AFFORDABLE. Motorcycles are on display at a store in downtown Cebu City. For those who cannot afford cars, motorcycles present a viable alternative. (SunStar Philippines Photo/CIT-U Intern Aljun Cainghog)
AFFORDABLE. Motorcycles are on display at a store in downtown Cebu City. For those who cannot afford cars, motorcycles present a viable alternative. (SunStar Philippines Photo/CIT-U Intern Aljun Cainghog)

Villaflores said a person can apply for multiple loans depending on their financial capabilities.

When asked if there are customers who buy motorcycles for habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) operations, he said they had a few buyers who cited the operations as their reason but their applications usually get rejected.

He said most of the customers, who used their units for habal-habal operations, were not able to finish paying for their units. (SunStar Philippines)


Habal-habal drivers form group to 'professionalize' services

By Jay Ann C. Ramirez
Multimedia Editor
SunStar Philippines

SOME habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) drivers in Cebu City in central Philippines have organized themselves in a bid to professionalize their services, although they are aware that they are operating illegally.

Anthony Rosales, vice president of the group 2K15 Cebu Riders Association Inc., said they created their group in February 2015 by merging the groups SRP Motorjack Riders Association and Mambalinganon in the village of Mambaling in southern Cebu City. They now have 125 members.

He said the purpose of the group is to learn how to ensure the safety of both drivers and passengers, as well as to instill discipline among the drivers.

The group also seeks to foster sportsmanship among its members, support all national and local government orders and activities, encourage the youth to participate in sport activities instead of illegal drugs and other vices, raise funds to finance activities and other related programs, and promote and undertake efforts for the protection, advancement and development of the members.

The 2K15 Cebu Riders Association Inc. is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with registration number CN201633097.

The group is also accredited with the Cebu City Government, through the Cebu City and Mountain Barangays Habal-Habal Drivers Association (Cemobahada).



Becoming a member

Before joining the group, Rosales said a driver must have his own motorcycle unit with two helmets, and must submit to them complete documents, including license, OR (Official Receipt) and CR (Certificate of Registration).

Once a driver becomes a member of the group, he will be asked to pay around P1,000, broken down as follows: P250 membership fee, P700 for two uniforms, and P40 for a Cemobahada sticker, which will be put on the motorcycle to show to passengers that they are registered.

The Cemobahada sticker, issued to 2K15 in October 2016, contains the Type O sign of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and his political party Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan.

The group's funds, Rosales said, are used to pay for their expenses, including rent for a lot used as their parking area or "terminal" near the Mambaling flyover.

Per the group's agreement with the lot owner, rent for the "terminal" is P20,000 a month; a maximum of 15 motorcycles are allowed to park at one time; and parking is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Other conditions: no smoking; maintain cleanliness; must not be noisy; and only two persons are allowed to stay overnight in the building.

The group also undertakes community projects, such as blood-letting and cleanliness drive.

The group's funds are also used for emergency medical expenses in case of accidents involving a member.

Rosales said they only carry one passenger at a time.

STICKER. If you see this sticker, it means the motorcycle taxi is registered with Cemobahada. The sticker also contains the Type O sign of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña. (SunStar Philippines Photo/Jay Ann C. Ramirez)
STICKER. If you see this sticker, it means the motorcycle taxi is registered with Cemobahada. The sticker also contains the Type O sign of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña. (SunStar Philippines Photo/Jay Ann C. Ramirez)

Rates

The group charges P15 per head for a trip between their "terminal" and SM Seaside City Cebu. Passengers bound for downtown Cebu City, about three kilometers away, are often asked to pay P50.

Those who travel to Cebu I.T. Park have to pay P100, while those who wish to go to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport on Mactan Island will have to pay P300.

Drivers said most of their passengers are willing to pay their rates to be able to get to their destinations fast.

"Pun-an gani na nila ma'am (ang pliti) labi na kung di sila ma-late. (Passengers even give us extra, especially if they get to their destination on time)," he said.

Depending on a verbal agreement with a driver, a passenger can also pay a lower fee when going to distant areas like Danao City, about 50 kilometers north of Cebu City, and Carcar City, more than 40 kilometers south.

Rosales said their motorcycles are registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) as private vehicles.

He said they are aware that they are operating illegally but they have no choice but to continue their operation because they have no other source of income.

"Padayon lang gihapon ma'am. Mao ra gyud among panginabuhi. (We will continue to operate. This is our only livelihood)," he said.

"Mohangyo ta mi sa mga dagkong tawo dinhi sa Cebu City nga tabangan tawn mi sa among panginabuhi nga ma-legal ni among pag-habal-habal labi na sa tanang habal-habal dinhi sa Cebu City para makatabang mi sa among pamilya. (We ask the authorities in Cebu City to help us by legalizing our operations, especially here in Cebu City, so that we can help our families)," he added. (SunStar Philippines)


Hailing a motorcycle taxi with your smartphone

By Marites Villamor-Ilano
Associate Editor
SunStar Philippines

THE fastest way for a commuter to get around highly congested Metro Manila is through a motorcycle taxi, and hailing one has been made simpler with the development of mobile apps.

Angkas, GoBounce and GrabBike are on-demand motorcycle taxi services that are available for download on iOS and Android devices.

Like the motorcycle taxis, these apps are illegal and unregulated, said Ariel Inton, founding president of Lawyers for Commuters' Safety and Protection.

GrabBike, which is among the services offered by transport network company Grab, ceased operations on February 4, 2016 in compliance to a cease-and-desist order by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Angkas and GoBounce, however, are active in Metro Manila.

Angkas was also issued a cease-and-desist order by LTFRB in January this year, but has ignored the order.

"It's unregulated but becoming popular to commuters who want to beat the traffic. LTFRB already issued a stop operation to Angkas. Problem is since it's not regulated, Angkas merely ignored it and (has) continued to operate," Inton said in a phone interview.

Inton, a former LTFRB board member, said these ride-hailing apps should also be regulated.

On its website, Angkas says it operates in Pasay, Pasig, Makati, Manila, San Juan, Taguig, Katipunan, SM North, QC Circle, South Triangle, New Manila, Balintawak, Monumento, and Eastwood in Metro Manila.

GoBounce, meanwhile, offers courier services (GoMessenger) on top of motorcycle taxi services (GoRide). It also promises to offer food delivery services (GoFood) and allow clients to book for a home-service personal trainer (GoFit).

Both apps boast of having professional riders who went through safety training and skills assessment.

The Angkas biker provides a helmet, mask and a poncho for rainy days. GoBounce takes it further by providing a hairnet aside from the helmet. Commuters who complain about smelly helmets would be grateful.

Both Angkas and GoBounce also assure passengers of insurance coverage. (SunStar Philippines)

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NEXT: There is a need for the habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) to provide the first mile/last mile connectivity. Should it be legalized and regulated? Or should it be stopped? Find out what our legislators are up to tomorrow.
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