With bills pending in both houses of Congress, a law legalizing and regulating motorcycle taxis is expected to pass within the next few months. Anticipating this development, Filipino-owned Citimuber is preparing to join the ranks of players now offering motorcycle-for-hire services.
Set up in 2017, Citimuber has been quietly preparing its operations and software infrastructure to gear up for the anticipated legalization of motorcycle taxis. According to its founder Rommel Villaroman, “We were hoping to join the second pilot run when it was opened up to additional players last December. We were not given the opportunity then, but we appreciated the feedback from the Technical Working Group so we could further improve our operations. We believe this will help us emerge stronger by taking the necessary steps to make sure we will be ready to go full-blast once the law is passed.”
As part of its preparations, Citimuber has set up a 1,600 sqm training facility in Caloocan City, where safety riding seminars and rider skills assessments are held. Since they opened the center last December, they average about 60 riders daily. The center can accommodate up to 300 riders per day once operations are in full swing.
According to the company, it has set up strict requirements for its rider-partners. Before being accepted into the platform, riders have to undergo a professional third-party background check including NBI and police clearances. Applicants also go through a riding skills evaluation to ensure they have proper knowledge of traffic laws, road safety guidelines, as well as the proficiency to handle all types of road and traffic conditions.
The app itself is designed to have accurate location tracking. To ensure the safety of both riders and bookers, there are designated areas where no bookings are accepted because of dangerous conditions, such as high-crime locations.
Additionally, both the rider and booker have a panic button that is automatically enabled once the ride starts. The panic button can be activated to send an emergency call or SMS, either to a police number or to immediate relatives.
The company shared that when motorcycle taxis are legalized, Citimuber is ready to offer their services in compliance with all the regulations and guidelines mandated by law. “We already have our partner-riders, a tested and proven working app, and an operational team in place. We also respect the TWG and regulators, so we are just waiting for the law to be passed so we can offer our services to our countrymen,” Villaroman added.
At the moment, it has a complement of about 10,000 riders already enrolled, with more signing up daily. Recruitment and screening are ongoing for Metro Manila and the adjoining provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Quezon.
The firm is currently offering other services available on its app, such as grocery delivery for families of Hong Kong-based OFWs, as well as food delivery service, among others.