By Lorenz S. Marasigan
When the operations of GrabBike stopped last month, the majority of partner-drivers have essentially lost their jobs.
“It has affected the drivers more than anything else. Roughly 70 percent of our riders are full-time drivers, and they are usually unemployed people who owns a motorcycle,” GrabBike Head Angeline Tham said in an interview on Tuesday.
With this, Grab Country Marketing Head Khriztina Lim said her company is “eager to restart its full operations to help both the commuters and the bikers.” “We have always pushed forward solutions that will help solve traffic congestion while providing the public with safer modes of transportation. As part of our commitment to safety, we have stringent processes in place to make sure our high safety standards are met by our bikers.”
The operations of GrabBike was suspended on February 5 by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board due to the lack of transport guidelines on the app-based ride-hailing service.
Winston M. Ginez, the chairman of the agency, said in a previous interview that his office decided against the transport mode as it is still not embedded in the revised transport rules and regulations on transport network companies.
He also said that, because motorcycle is the most economical and easiest means of transportation to beat traffic congestion in the city, they are also involved in alarming statistics on motorcycle accidents in the world, citing a report by the World Health Organization (WHO).
It a study, the organization found that 1.25 million people have died globally due to road accidents, with motorcyclists comprising 23 percent of the figure.
The WHO report also said that more than half—or 53 percent—of those who die in road accidents in the Philippines are motorcycle riders.
There are about 3.4 million motorcycle users in the Philippines and most of them are beginners. Studies showed there are about an average of 16,208 motorcycle accidents recorded in the country every year.
Despite the implementation of the helmet law in the country, motorcycles have the highest fatality accident rate in Metro Manila from January to November 2015, according to statistics compiled by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s Metro Manila Accident Recording and Analysis System (MMARAS) Database.
The MMARAS database also shows that of the 696 road fatalities recorded in that period, 236 were due to motorcycle accidents.
The database also recorded a total of 166,883 vehicles involved in road accidents in Metro Manila, with motorcycles coming in second with 18,482, next to private cars with 81,837.
Lim noted, however, that her company puts safety as the highest priority.
“Every GrabBiker and passenger will have personal protective equipment, like helmets and facemasks, to make sure they operate safely. In addition to the equipment, all rides are ensured for both bikers and passengers,” she said.
Tham added that drivers are given free training and seminars to ensure the safety of them and their passengers.