THE Transportation Department’s Technical Working Group (TWG) flip-flopped on its recommendation to Congress to terminate the study and pilot run of motorcycle taxis in the country.

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, Antonio Gardiola Jr., chairman of the TWG overseeing the pilot run, told CNN Philippines that they will continue studying the safety of motorcycles-for-hire.

His statement came after several lawmakers during a recent Senate hearing urged the TWG not to stop the pilot run as they would want to get the right data before they could craft a bill regulating the operation of motorcycle taxis such as Angkas, Joyride and Move It.

In Cebu, there are more than 3,000 Angkas drivers. Joyride and Move It drivers operate only in Metro Manila.

Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca said they will continue to coordinate with the government.

To help Congress further evaluate pending bills that seek to legalize the use of motorcycles as public utility vehicles, the TWG conducted a study from June 23 to Dec. 26, 2019.

The pilot run was later extended to March 23, 2020.

However, the TWG in a document issued last Jan. 17 recommended ending the study to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade as it could not gather enough data on motorcycle taxis’ safety due to court cases filed by Angkas questioning the study’s guidelines.

The TWG also urged the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to blacklist Angkas due to the motorcycle service provider’s alleged violations, one of which was Angkas’ operation outside the identified study areas of Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.

An Angkas driver, who requested anonymity, said his income has put food on the table for his family. He feared for his family’s future if the motorcycle taxi operations in Cebu would be stopped by the government. (JCT)