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Angkas seeks clarification for small motorcycles ban

Ride-sharing app provider Angkas called for Skyway O&M Corp. (SOMCo) to clarify its move to prohibit sub-400cc motorcycles to ply along Osmeña Highway, which took effect on July 22, as it is deemed uncoordinated with proper authorities and beyond its mandate of operating and maintaining toll roads under the South Metro Manila Skyway Project (SMMS).

With the ban, motorcycles, whose engine displacement is below 400cc, coming from the East Service Road in Taguig can no longer use the northbound portion of Osmeña Highway starting from Sales Bridge in Pasay. Instead, they must divert to Pasong Tamo Extension going to their destination in Pasay, Makati or Manila.

“Angkas would really like to clarify this issue,” Angkas Head for Regulatory and Public Affairs George Royeca said during their media briefing held recently in Intramuros, Manila. “This is because we haven’t seen any directive or official order from the Toll Regulatory Board and also from the other agencies concerned.”

He pointed out Republic Act 2000, or the Limited Access Highway Act, bans less than 400cc motorcycles from using limited access facilities or tolled highways.

Royeca noted that DOTC’s DO 2007-15 designates and declares as limited access facilities the following expressways— South Luzon Expressway, Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway, North Luzon Expressway, SMMS, Southern Tagalog Arterial Road, and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway—and all other road networks, including any extension of the existing expressway facilities that may be construed established and or operated as expressway toll facilities by law.

“It is our opinion that the Osmeña Highway is not part of the limited access facilities,” he said. “It’s not tolled. It’s not under the TRB. And even in that case, where is the directive coming from the government agency. All we know is that Skyway made an order. Is that true? Can a private corporation dictate the use of public roads?”

Angkas has over 27,000 riders and most of them are based in Metro Manila. Their motorcycles have engine displacements ranging from 100cc to 200cc.

With the prohibition of small two-wheeled vehicles on the highway, Royeca slammed it saying that it is not only anti-motorcycle-rider, but also anti-poor.

The ban will affect a lot of commuters on these critical roads using motorcycle taxis as their riders will have to detour into roads that are usually jam-packed with vehicles, forcing them to go through bottlenecks.

“We will not allow that a private corporation will do this and will affect millions of commuters and thousands of vehicles that have nothing to do with the issues of Skyway,” he said.

In a meeting with Motorcycle Rights Organization (MRO), SOMCo admitted they did not coordinate with anyone, including the TRB, but just invoked the DO 2007-38 for their decision for the ban. The prohibition is also due to safety concerns as stated in their letter received by MRO.

Data show that Sales Bridge to Magallanes has an average of 100 accidents a year. Per MRO’s count two weeks ago, there were already 7,800 vehicles passing to and from these roads from 6 to 10 a.m.

Even at 10,000 vehicles a day, Bolaños said that it is safe to estimate that around 2.4 million motorcycles will ply the road in a year against 100 accidents.

“That’s .00004 percent way better compared to where we will be pushed into,” he said, noting that accidents along Pasong Tamo Extension and Andrews Avenue are higher than such prohibited portions of Osmeña Highway. “So they cannot use the reason of safety because they are, in effect, pushing us from a less safe road to a more dangerous road.”

Since the implementation of the ban, Angkas has already directed the 80 percent of their riders who pass by such routes not to do so.

“We discourage them to ply in those areas,” Angkas Operations Manager David Medrana said of their order to their partner-bikers so as to avoid apprehension from authorities. “It’s really eating up on their time [to divert their routes]. It’s really eating up on their potential earnings or income. It’s a big challenge to our riders.”

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