Why motorcycle-sharing service Angkas can’t resume operations soon

Photo from Angkas' FB page

On Thursday (November 16), Angkas drivers across the metro were advised to temporarily cease taking bookings from 6 p.m. that day until they get a notice to resume operations. That day, most of those drivers were optimistic that Angkas would get things immediately cleared or at least obtain even a temporary permission to operate.

By 5:45 p.m. the same day, the verified Facebook account of the motorcycle-sharing service posted this message: “We might find a place in this world someday. But at least for now, I gotta go my own way.” The post came with hashtag: #OneWithAngkas.

Around the same time, Angkas released an official statement, announcing that its operations would be indefinitely suspended beginning Saturday (November 18), several days after the company’s office in Makati City was shut down by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulator Board (LTFRB) for allegedly operating without a business permit.

Despite the November 18 schedule of bookings suspension, passengers were not able to book any ride using the Angkas app on Friday (November 17). The service has not resumed since then.

Of course, regular passengers of the motorbike-hailing service took to the social media to state their support for Angkas via #OneWithAngkas.

What the law says
Unfortunately, Angkas could not be expected to resume soon. No provision in the current law could support the service’s cause. The Land Transportation and Traffic Code or Republic Act 4136 classifies all vehicles in the country as either public or private. Only public vehicles are authorized to collect fees for transporting other people but with necessary franchises and permits from the LTFRB.

Motorcycles fall under the private vehicle category, which means those could not be utilized to pick up any passenger in exchange for money. Angkas is not even falling under the new category that covers transport network vehicle services (TNVS) like Uber and Grab.

Thus, all Angkas motorcycles have technically been operating illegally since they started service more than a year ago. The only hope left for Angkas to be allowed to operate is a pending legislation, House Bill 2530 that was filed in August 2016. But it would certainly take time before its deliberation is completed as the bill remains at the committee level.

On Saturday (November 18), LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III even disclosed their plan to offer to Angkas drivers opportunities to be part of the growing delivery sector. “We will make use of their expertise as motorcycle drivers but this time as a mode of delivering goods,” he said during a live interview on ANC’s Dateline Philippines Weekend.

Angkas in Cebu City
Meanwhile, Angkas is getting the city government’s support in Cebu City. However, Mayor Tomas Osmeña is looking at the possibility of putting the service’s operations under the local government’s wing so as not to violate any transport regulation.

In a news conference, Mayor Osmeña revealed that he had received numerous requests from Cebuanos to keep Angkas operational in the city as the service they said is helping address transportation problems in the area. “They’re asking me to do something about it,” Mayor Osmeña said. “I agree that Angkas has been providing real service to ordinary Cebuanos.”

The Cebu City government plans to hire Angkas for consultation and management services, hinting an intention to take over the operations in the city. It even promises partner-motorcycle drivers that it would scrap the 20% earnings remittance to Angkas as it would shoulder all operating costs.