Online motorcycle-hailing platform Angkas recently held a press conference to cry foul over the ban on sub-400cc-displacement motorcycles on Osmeña Highway, which began last July 22.

In a prepared statement, Angkas claimed that “the move is another form of discrimination against the masses,” and that it is “not only anti-motorcycle-rider, it is also anti-poor.”

The release continued: “Motorcycles whose engine displacement is below 400cc and which are coming from the East Service Road (Taguig City) can no longer use the northbound portion of Osmeña Highway starting from Sales Bridge (Pasay City). Instead of directly heading straight to Osmeña Highway via a small road connector that crosses the PNR track, the small motorcycles must divert to Pasong Tamo Extension going to their destination in Pasay, Makati, or Manila.”

Angkas head for regulatory and public affairs George Royeca said that the ban will affect a lot of commuters relying on these critical roads. He stated that their Angkas biker-partners will have to do detours into roads that are usually jampacked with vehicles, forcing them to go through heavy traffic.

“What’s worse is that the ban also affects commuters who will have to go the longer way, resulting in a longer travel time and higher fares because of the detours,” Royeca added. “The move is therefore also anti-commuter.”

He pointed to Skyway O&M as being behind the ban. Skyway O&M is a private corporation designated by the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) to operate and maintain tolled roads under the South Metro Manila Skyway Project (SMMS).

Royeca maintained that Osmeña Highway is not a tolled road and, as such, is excluded from the list of expressways where sub-400cc motorcycles are banned. “Osmeña Highway, therefore, cannot be covered by the TRB,” he claimed.

Royeca also asked where the official order from the TRB is. “Why is it that only Skyway O&M Corporation is giving the order? Can a private corporation now dictate the use of public roads and facilities?” Royeca asked. “No private corporation has the right to dictate the use of public roads,” he added, emphasizing that the ban was implemented without any studies or consultation with stakeholders.

According to Angkas operations manager David Medrana, there are currently over 27,000 Angkas riders, most of whom are based in Metro Manila. These riders use motorcycles whose engine displacements range from 100cc to 200cc. “There are only very few motorcycle riders in Metro Manila who have 400cc motorcycles. This ban is clearly discriminatory,” Medrana claimed.