Editorial: To scoot or not to scoot

Editorial Art by Ariel Itumay

LOOKS like it’s going to be a real bummer, the Cebu City Transportation Office’s (CCTO) ban on scooters. The months of lockdowns and scarce public transportation made a good number of enterprising citizens invest on scooters to sustain mobility. It had become a survival mode of transport, and reports said some medical frontliners took to the scooter to go to work. In fact, some members of the Cebu media have been using it during coverage.

Electronic scooters, or e-scooters, are way cheaper than motorcycles. Their prices range between P5,000 and P20,000. That they were yet beyond the gaze of policy and therefore free from tedious paper works made it a wiser and quicker transport option for some people during the quarantine. There is no official count on the number of scooter users in the metro yet, but their presence can be felt in the streets.

Now, the CCTO had set its eyes on the scooters, and had put its foot down. CCTO spokesperson Ronnie Nadera said scooters risk road accidents, and the agency will seize those plying the national roads. The CCTO’s ban, he said, is based on Section 7 of Article 4 of the Cebu City Traffic Ordinance.

Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, himself a scooter user, said there is no official guideline yet on the use of e-scooters on public roads. He said the policy is being crafted yet, and is reviewed by the Department of Transportation Road Sector, the agency’s legal affairs and the Office of the DOTR Secretary.

“It is untimely that this City will put limitations to people’s access to affordable, clean and environmental friendly, social distancing alternative mode of transportation. Not this time of pandemic. We are the only City in the country who will be doing it,” Garganera said in a SunStar report.

The review, we understand, must not only tackle legalities, but also the safety of users and other stakeholders—the matter on safety gears for scooter users, for instance, must also be discussed as well as road use.

The e-scooters are reputedly environment-friendly as they don’t emit toxic gases in the air. However, there are also contentions that their maintenance and production may not be as ecologically harmless as they seem.

In the end, it appears that there are matters to be discussed on the soundness of this transport mode. E-scooter users must do some lobbying to highlight their part of the argument in the crafting of any policy that will concern them.


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