Cebu City plans to convene motorcycle-for-hire board

·2 min read

CEBU City Councilor James Cuenco, chairman of the committee on transportation, hopes to convene a motorcycle-for-hire regulatory board to address the issue of overpricing and the lack of traffic discipline by some erring “habal-habal” drivers.

Cuenco told SunStar Cebu Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, that it is now time for the City Government to regulate “habal-habal” or motorcycle-for-hire drivers who ply the city’s roads.

This, after Councilor Pastor “Jun” Alcover, in a privilege speech during their regular session on Wednesday, Aug. 31, urged the Council to convene the city’s motorcycle-for-hire regulatory board.

Alcover said an ordinance creating the board was first approved in 1992 and 30 years after its enactment, no concrete programs or regulations have yet been created by the City Government.

“The current situation of our habal-habal drivers demands action. Because there has been no consistent rules for them, a lot were arrested for traffic violations,” said Alcover in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Cuenco for his part said convening the board is now in the hands of Mayor Michael Rama who has to identify and appoint its members first.

Cuenco said many passengers have complained about excessive fares being charged by the drivers and the board should create a fare matrix as a guide for commuters.

Cuenco added the board should first create a database of all habal-habal drivers by requiring them to register and be a member of a driver’s organization.

“That is very important so that we can regulate them because we don’t have control and jurisdiction over them,” said Cuenco.

The board will then include seminars about road safety and traffic rules in its program for drivers to avoid accidents on the road.

Traffic accidents

Cuenco said data from the Cebu City Transportation Office showed that 80 percent of vehicular accidents in the city involved motorcycles.

The discussion on the regulation of motorcycles-for-hire will also be included in the city’s mobility summit that will happen in November or December 2022, he added.

According to Cuenco, stakeholders and experts from the entire Metro Cebu will be invited during the summit to reach a coordinated plan for the regulation of habal-habal drivers.

Despite being ruled by the Supreme Court as illegal, motorcycles-for-hire are vital to the public transportation sector in the city, Cuenco said.

“They are very important because it is the only mode of transportation for our constituents, especially in the far-flung barangays where there are no public utility vehicles plying routes,” said Cuenco.

Motorcycles-for-hire as a mode of transportation have also been helpful these days with the resumption of face-to-face classes and the huge demand for public transport.