The hashtag #SaveAngkas trended on social media on Dec 3, Tuesday when Filipino commuters took to the internet to express their support for the ride-sharing motorcycle taxi app Angkas. This outpouring of support precedes the end of Angkas’ six-month pilot testing period, ending on Dec. 26. The end of the pilot run signals the Department of Transportation’s (DOTR) ruling on whether or not Angkas will be allowed to operate as a legal form of public transportation.
The pilot run was officially launched in June. According to DOTR, this will give the department’s technical working group (TWG) ample time to study the legalization of the app’s ride-sharing service. Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code currently only classifies motorcycles as either private (only used by registered owners) or government (only used when fulfilling government functions) vehicles. This ruling prevents Angkas from legally operating as a public ride-hailing mobile app service.
For the six-month pilot run, DOTR provided guidelines for Angkas to operate with, which included fare computations determined by the TWG, safety requirements that operators and drivers must follow, and mandatory monthly reports regarding passenger feedback, complaints, as well as other issues. DOTR also implemented key performance indicators that will be used to evaluate Angkas at the end of the year, namely, Accident Threshold, Traffic Rules Violations, and Customer Feedback. The data gathered during the pilot run will be used to draft the bill to legalize motorcycle taxis.
Angkas operators and riders have been compliant with the guidelines of the pilot run. Aside from DOTR-mandated safety measures, Angkas also stepped up and implemented a re-training program for all of its riders before the pilot run started. They also created a reflectorized vest, which contained straps for the passengers to hold onto as well as the Angkas driver’s unique ID number.
The six-month pilot run has been indicative of Angkas’ popularity as an alternative transportation option to survive Manila’s heavy gridlock traffic. Tweets under the #SaveAngkas hashtag mostly hail Angkas for being a solution to the worsening traffic situation. According to netizens, Angkas saves commuters from being late to meetings, appointments, and classes. The riders are also known to be friendly and accommodating to passengers. Its social media posts have also gained a reputation for being funny, meme-able, and true to the commuting experience. A petition to support the regulation of motorcycle taxis have also been making rounds with the #SaveAngkas hashtag. As of writing, more than 170,000 people have signed the petition.
Header photo courtesy of Niño Jesus Orbeta from Philippine Daily Inquirer
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Writer: ETERNITY INES