Was Angkas the Solution to Urban Traffic That We Needed (And is Now Gone)?
Ride-hailing app Angkas suspended operations last weekend, beginning November 18, weeks after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) cracked down on the service's motorbikers for operating without the necessary permits.
Angkas took to Twitter to issue its official statement, in which the company confirmed that they were "suspending operations while...engag[ing] authorities in dialogue." They also asked the public to continue to appeal to the transport authorities to reinstate their operations.
We might find a place in this world someday. But at least for now, I gotta go my own way. ???? pic.twitter.com/fHaNLMsOgo— Angkas (@angkas) November 16, 2017
In operation for less than a year, Angkas was only beginning to be embraced by the riding public when they were shut down. Touting the service's convenience for passengers and their safety training for their drivers, Angkas found an appreciative audience among Filipino city-dwellers who needed a cheap, easy way to get around traffic jams. Riders pay P50 for the first 2 kilometers, and then P10 for every kilometer thereafter.
"Angkas gave passengers a safer, more professional alternative to the habal-habal that have long plied Metro Manila roads," reads a statement issued to the press. "It required safety training, skills assessment, background checks and a professional license before onboarding bikers to its platform, and offered safety gear, transparent prices and personal accident insurance to both its passengers and its bikers."
In the short time that Angkas was active, users acknowledged the innovative service on social media.
The service was not without its dangers. In July, an Angkas passenger was seriously injured in an accident that raised questions about liability and regulation. The LTFRB requires PUVs to operate with Passenger Personal Accident Insurance (PPAI). But while the LTFRB is in charge of both public utility vehicles and of transport network services (TNCs) like Grab and Uber, motorcycles are not classified as PUVs or TNCs.
The LTFRB has said that the agency will host dialogues with Angkas drivers to discuss the prevailing issues. The LTFRB also recently announced that they will partner with the Department of Labor and Employment to help Angkas drivers find new jobs.
In Cebu City, meanwhile, Mayor Tomas Osmeña has said that the city government was looking at ways to work with Angkas. Mayor Osmeña was quoted in Cebu newspaper The Freeman saying, "As soon as they can give me the proposal, I will immediately consider this as an emergency program because many people are asking...All I know is that it’s working well. We will try to make it apply based on the clamor that I’m getting from the people. If that’s what the people want, that’s what the people will get."
While the voluntary suspension is in effect, riders have noted that Angkas drivers have now taken to offering rides privately. Arcade City, another app that has been known to swoop in when other TNCs face similar challenges by regulatory boards, has also stepped in.
My previous angkas drivers are texting me HUHU sorry for the lost jobs kuyas ??— pat (@patleecia_) November 17, 2017
Hi, Cebu friends! If you guys need a ride, maybe you'd like to help my former Angkas driver out ???? pic.twitter.com/gY5IU6aQFM— Jai ???? (@yjgn_) November 20, 2017
"Ridesharing startup Arcade City now officially expands its peer-to-peer service to support the 300,000+ motorcycle riders and passengers from the 'Uber for motorcycles' service Angkas, suspended last week by the Philippine government."#Angkashttps://t.co/0o1JlgfgMp— Arcade City (@ArcadeCityHall) November 20, 2017
In the meantime, Angkas continues to rally support from the public through social media—with its customary aplomb. If there's anything else besides convenience that we're going to miss in case Angkas shuts down for good, it's their colorful Twitter feed.
Oh, Angkas, we hardly knew ye.
kumusta na kayo diyan e2 nga pala bagong roaming number q https://t.co/IwBYza5ywR— Angkas (@angkas) November 23, 2017
Ang daming kong hashtag (at hanash) sa buhay. Pili na lang kayo, yun gagamitin namin ty fam— Angkas (@angkas) November 23, 2017