On 10th September LTO released a Memo about the Bajaj RE and the Piaggio Ape.
Memorandum Circular No. 2018-2148
SUBJECT: CLASSIFICATION AND REGISTRATION OF BAJAJ 46 F AND RE 4 STROKE UNITS: PIAGGIO APE UNITS AND OTHER SIMILAR VEHICLES
Pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 4136, otherwise known as the ‘Land Transportation and Traffic Code.’ as amended and Republic , No. 8794, otherwise known as the ‘Motor Vehicle User’s Charge’. the following guidelines are hereby promulgated for the uniformly of classification and registration of the subject type of motor vehicles (MV).
This type of MV shall be classified Motorcycle-Tricycle (MTC) the collectible MVUC shall be the same rate applied for MTC for private or for-hire provided for under R A 8794.
The operation Of this type of MV shall not be allowed along national highways unless declared by the local government unit open for travel.
In accordance with the provisions of LTO Administrative Order No. 010-2005, units having an engine displacement 200 cc and below shall only allowed one (1) year registration.
All previous issuances inconsistent herewith are deemed repealed Or am accordingly.
This memo has caused alarm for private owners many that bought the Bajaj RE or Piaggio Ape for travelling to work, others also used them for touring travelling long distances and many used them for family days out. All of this mean travelling along national highways.
A ban on national highways would mean that many private users have spent a lot of money on vehicles that are no longer any use to them.
We have been told the reason for the change is because many people who have bought a Bajaj RE for rendering transport services to the pubic have had problems getting a franchise to operate from their Local Government Unit (LGU).
While we realise that something needed to be done to make it easier to get the franchise to render transport services to the pubic, it does not seem right that private users should be punished because of this.
At the time of writing this article it is still unclear if this does apply to private users. We hope to update you on what LTO has to say about this soon.
As discussed in our article “Is the Bajaj RE a Tricycle?” congress states
A. TRICYCLE – means a motor vehicle composed of a motorcycle with not more than two (2) cylinders of five hundred cubic centimetres (500cc) engine capacity fitted with single-wheel side car designed to accommodate four (4) passengers only including the driver.
FOURTEENTH CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES S.B. 3289 a definition of what a tricycle is under Philippines law.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
DILG Legal Opinion on what is a tricycle and the ban on National Highways
In reply to a concern by the Corporate Affairs Department of Nestle Philippines, Inc. which requested the DILG Department’s opinion on whether or not the tricycles operated by their partners in the Business on Wheels (BOW) came under franchise rules and the ban of tricycles on national highways.
There are 2 interesting points
Under the Guidelines issued by the DOTC, a tricycle-for-hire is defined as follows:
1. A Tricycle-for-Hire is a motor vehicle composed of a fitted with a single-wheel side car or a motorcycle with two-wheel cab operated to render transport services to the general public for a fee.”
2. Clearly, the prohibition for the operation of tricycles on national highways applies only to those rendering transport services to the public.
It is our view that because of this the LTO memo does not apply to private users of the Bajaj RE or the Piaggio Ape. We hope LTO will confirm this ASAP.
There is a rule that says
1. For safety reasons, no tricycles should operate on national highways utilized by 4 wheel vehicles greater than 4 tons and where normal speed exceed 40 KPH. However, the SB/SP may provide exceptions if there is no alternative route.
However this is advice for LGU’s and private users do not come under LGU franchises.
The key word here is “operating” which would normally be used to mean driving for commercial purposes.
We fully understand why this ruling was made and why it was needed. Tricycles being just motorbikes with a side car bolted on are not very fast, the average speed of them seems to be 30 to 40kph and on a road where heavy vehicles are travelling much faster does cause a hazard.
The Bajaj RE only resembles a tricycle in the fact it has 3 wheels and in no other way. Unlike tricycles it is designed to have 3 wheels it is built in a factory and has passed very strict European safety standards.
With a cruising speed of 72kph and a top speed of 80kph the Bajaj Re is not a hazard on national highways because it is very capable of keeping up with the flow of traffic, and travelling close to the speed limit.
As a Bajaj is symmetrical even at 80 kph it is easy to steer, unlike a tricycle that becomes difficult to keep in a straight line at higher speeds.
A ban on private users of the Bajaj RE on National Highways makes no sense, they allow motorbikes that are far more of a safety hazard than the Bajaj RE which comes fitted with seatbelts for the driver and passengers.