Guess who’s back: Motorcycle booking app Angkas allowed to operate again

Photo: Angkas Change.org petition page.
Photo: Angkas Change.org petition page.

Guess who’s back, back again?

Commuters who are frustrated with the Philippines’ inefficient public transportation system are bound to rejoice with today’s announcement that the government has given motorcycle-booking app Angkas the go-signal to operate again.

But hold your horses, fam. The Department of Transport (DOTr) allowed Angkas to operate only on a test-run basis, which will last for six monthsABS-CBN reported.

Angkas’ head of regulatory and public affairs George Royeca said the DOTr allowed them to do a test-run as a way for them to prove that riding Angkas is safe for passengers.

“We want to prove the safety record and… also the economic viability of the transport service. This is really a step in the right direction,” he told the ANC show Market Edge.

In a statement released today, the DOTr said that the test-run will start in June and covers Metro Manila and Metro Cebu. It said the results of the test-run will be used as the foundation for the bills that will be filed at the House of Representatives and the Senate which will regulate the motorcycle taxi industry.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade has a stern reminder for Angkas.

“We warn the ride-hailing service to follow the safety requirements once they operate,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English. “Don’t waste the trust that we have given you… what is most important is the public’s safety. If you fail to meet the guidelines [that were set], we will not have second thoughts on halting the pilot implementation.”

Angkas ceased operations in December because the DOTr and its Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said the app needs to apply for a permit before it could ply the city’s roads, according to the Manila Bulletin.

At the same time, the LTFRB also said that motorcycles are not a recognized form of public transport under the Land Transportation Code, reported CNN Philippines. The government believed that motorcycle taxis put passengers’ lives in danger.

Angkas’ temporary disappearance was met with public outrage because motorcycle taxis have become the preferred mode of transport of some commuters who struggle with the Philippines’ inefficient public transportation. The app’s fans said that they reach their destinations faster because motorbikes have an easier time navigating through the city’s traffic-congested roads.

Angkas pulled out all the stops to operate again, from organizing a concert to mobilize public support, to starting a public petition.

But that’s all water under the bridge (for now), and Angkas is openly celebrating its comeback. Check out their tweet below, which appeared just a few hours ago.

Their supporters are equally happy. One asked for a promo code.

One made an important request. @shesaidiris wrote: “Yes, we know. I’m so happy that you’re back. But please make sure you (the drivers) smell good. Love you.”

Another said that Angkas made a cool reference by quoting Eminem’s song Without Me.

Happy days are here again it seems.

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CITY: MANILACATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: TRANSPORTATION

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