Fetalvero: On motorcycle taxis

Noemi Fetalvero

THE bigger picture in the motorcycle taxi issue entangles demographics and urbanization in relation to poverty in our country. While farmers are challenged with climate change, exodus to urban areas is inevitable.

Using the motorcycle to traverse from rural areas up in the mountain, down to the city streets make it the cheap and convenient mode of transportation. Driving it as “habal-habal” as means of livelihood is already a bonus to its owner. Our citizens will opt to live in slum areas in the cities where there are countless opportunities to earn both legally (or illegally) as opposed to limited options in the rural areas.

Purchase of motorcycles has been made easy through easy installments. In addition, a second-hand unit come very cheap for as low as P10,000. As of 2019, Motorcycles Data reported that there are 1.7 million motorcycles sales up by 9.8 percent compared to the previous year. In Cebu alone, there are now more than 100,000 registered.

Owners of motorcycles with sidecars earn through transporting livestock, grains, feeds, sodas, lumber and hardware. They have become part of an informal economy... difficult to regulate and tax. Filipinos are very resourceful when it comes to making additional income for the family. Now that the number of motorcycles have increased to amazing proportions, is it even feasible for our authorities to properly and efficiently manage the operations of motorcycle taxis?

Our young welcome the evolution of our transport system that allowed motorcycle taxis. The working class who do not want to lose their jobs due to traffic congestion, travel by motorcycle taxis.

Motorcycles should have been confined only to side streets. Owners should have been made to understand upon registration that they are not allowed to operate on highways and other major thoroughfares. Ideally, in some wider highways where bantam and sports utility vehicles travel, motorcycle lanes should be provided. Since 12- and 14-wheeler trucks, container vans and cement mixers have blind spots, no motorcycles should be allowed to drive alongside these vehicles.

Should motorcycle taxis be allowed as an alternative mode of transportation, policy makers should first and foremost consider the safety of passengers.