By Alexandria San Juan
Days before the government’s pilot test for motorcycle-taxis ends, commuter safety advocates sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) against five other motorcycle ride-hailing firms due to the safety hazards they pose for operating illegally.
The Lawyers for Commuters Safety and Protection (LCSP) announced on Monday that they filed a petition before a Quezon City court for the injunction and TRO against We Move Things Philippines, Inc. (JoyRide), Habal Riders Group, i-Sabay, Sampa-Dala Corporation, and Trans-Serve Corporation.
According to lawyer Raymond Fortun, a member of the LCSP, these companies are currently offering their services to passengers through social media platforms, particularly Facebook.
“All of them are not part of the pilot program. All of them, obviously, are not being regulated with regard to certain standards,” Fortun said at a press conference in Quezon City.
Currently, only motorcycle ride-hailing firm Angkas is undergoing a pilot test run which could pave the way for the legalization of motorcycle-taxis in the country.
In June, Angkas was given the green light by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to operate on a trial basis in Metro Manila and Cebu for six months or until the end of 2019.
Fortun mentioned that bikers of unauthorized motorcycle-taxi companies have no legitimate and proper training, thus they pose a threat to the safety of their passengers.
“We are not sure if they are using proper helmets, they are not coordinating with regulators about insurance for passengers in case of accidents, and we do not know if they are observing the proper speed limit,” Fortun said in the vernacular.
Fortun also explained that accidents involving these unauthorized units might affect the decision of lawmakers to legalize motorcycles as a mode of public transportation due to safety issues.
On top of that, Fortun pointed out that these firms did not even try to be recognized by authorities before operating.
“Nangagamba ang LCSP dito sa ganitong sistema dahil ang nakasalalay dito ay ang safety ng mga tao na gagamit ng serbisyo na ito,” the lawyer said.
(The LCSP is concerned about this system because what’s riding on this is the safety of the people who will use this service.)
“Dapat may assurance ang publiko sa safety (public safety must be guaranteed). We are asking for a TRO to prevent these five corporations from offering their services to the public,” he added.
Should the court prove that these firms do not adhere to DOTr standards, the LCSP said they will seek for the injunction to be permanent and the companies to pay at least P300,000 in exemplary damages and P200,000 for the costs of litigation.
The LCSP clarified that they are not against the entry of motorcycle-taxis in the country but said they should undergo due process to ensure the safety of the riding public.