CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Northern Mindanao (LTFRB-10) said ride-hailing firm Angkas must first secure a permit from the city government before it can resume operations here.
Aminoden Guro, LTFRB-10 regional director, said a technical working group (TWG) created to look into Angkas’ application has recommended that the firm should seek approval from the local government before it is allowed to return to the streets.
The TWG is composed of LTFRB-10, Land Transportation Office-10, Cagayan de Oro City Police Office, Traffic Management Group, Highway Patrol Group, and Roads and Traffic Administration.
Guro said the TWG has discussed how Angkas could resume operations in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has earlier green-lighted Angkas to resume its operation, upon the recommendation from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in November.
The agency has allowed Angkas and other motorcycle-hailing firms MoveIt and Joyride to operate in Metro Manila, Cebu City, and in this city.
In this city, each player is permitted to operate a maximum of 3,000 units or a total of 9,000 motorcycles. So far, only Angkas has applied for a permit to operate here with at least 804 units, as of February this year.
Angkas was supposed to officially start ferrying passengers early this year here but it did not push through after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a nationwide health emergency following the increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the country in March.
Guro said among the factors that the TWG is studying is the use of a protective barrier between the driver and his pillion, and the requirement of passengers to use their own helmets.
He said this is to keep in mind the threat of the coronavirus which could be transmitted from person to person.
Meanwhile, city councilor Romeo Calizo, chairman of public order and safety, and roads and traffic management said the city government must discuss Angkas’ application with experts so aspects such as traffic congestion and pollution could be given consideration.
“We must also consider the restrictions set by the DILG so we will know which provisions of the local IATF we need to comply,” he said.
Calizo said his committee is concerned with the safety of both riders and passengers as he noted that most road accidents involve motorcycles.
City councilor George Goking, chair of the trade and commerce committee, said he welcomes the operation of Angkas and other groups to give the riding public cheaper option.
“We want to have a cheaper mode of transportation for our people, so they will have a better choice,” Goking said.
Jerome Angcolo, Angkas city manager for Cagayan de Oro, said they are targeting to go back on the road within the month.
He said their application’s status is “pending since there are documents and processes we need to comply first before we can resume our operation here in Cagayan de Oro.”
When pressed further, Angcolo did not elaborate, although he said they are hopeful they can operate again.
In previous interviews, Angeline Tham, Angkas chief executive officer, has assured that the company has complied with all the requirements set by the DOTr. (PNA)