New motorcycle taxi firm JoyRide set to challenge Angkas

MANILA, Philippines – New motorcycle ride-hailing firm JoyRide may soon challenge Angkas, even as the industry navigates legal hurdles to operations.

While JoyRide is not yet operational, it has started beefing up its driver roster to around 5,000. It calls its driver-operators "kasundo" – a play on the words "sundo" or to fetch and "kasundo" which means someone you get along with.

JoyRide recently signed an agreement with insurance giant Malayan Insurance, in a bid to prepare safety measures ahead of its official app launch.

JoyRide has yet to announce its official launch date.

According to its Facebook page, JoyRide began recruiting potential drivers last September. It promises an income of P1,500 per day.

JoyRide vice president for corporate affairs Noli Eala, a former Philippine Basketball Association commissioner and ex-San Miguel Corporation sports director, posted on his Instagram account a "first look" at the firm's facilities.

View this post on Instagram JoyRide PH brings world class standards to motorcycle taxi service. First look at our facilities where riders and their bikes will be screened, provided seminars for safety, trained for customer service, and much more. #Kasundo A post shared by Noli Eala (@nolieala) on Oct 5, 2019 at 8:41am PDT

Just like Angkas, the pioneer of the motorcycle taxi industry in the Philippines, JoyRide's potential drivers need to undergo training.

With worsening congestion in the metro, Filipino commuters became fond of Angkas because of the "opportunity to beat traffic." JoyRide acknowledged this reality, but it presented the idea of market competition.

"The motorcycle taxi industry was able to offer a temporary reprieve, but even that is teetering on the edge of decline because of the lack of market competition," the firm said in a statement.

Legal hurdles

The prospect of competition among motorcycle ride-hailing companies, however, may seem bleak this year.

In May, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) allowed the 6-month pilot operation of motorcycle taxis, with Angkas as its sole partner to gather data. The DOTr's intention is to collect data that will be used to draft a bill to legalize the industry.

The pilot implementation will end December this year.

Currently, Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code does not allow motorcycles to be used for hire or for transport. This is the reason why Angkas faced legal hurdles in its operations. (READ: Why Angkas is illegal)

In 2018, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board stopped accepting applications for transportation network companies' accreditation. (READ: Will Indonesia ride-hailing giant Go-Jek enter PH?)

Industry stakeholders are hoping a law to legalize motorcycle taxis would be passed in the 18th Congress.

At the Senate, 4 senators have already filed their own versions of the motorcycle-for-hire bill – Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senator Grace Poe, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, and Senator Imee Marcos.

At the House, 14 lawmakers have filed their own bills, too.

All these are still pending in the chambers' respective transportation committees. Congress is on break and will resume session on November 4. –

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.