For many, personal mobility devices like electric kick scooters have been a godsend since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Not only does the vehicle provide an alternative to a public transportation system unable to perform at full capacity, it gives people that can’t to afford a car a viable way to get around.
One would think that a city like Makati would welcome alternative modes of transport like these with open arms, considering the area is packed with offices and businesses. On Tuesday, however, Makati Parking Authority (MAPA) enforcers began apprehending electric kick scooter riders inside the central business district.
MAPA’s basis? Land Transportation Office (LTO) administrative order 2021-039, which limits the use of electric kick scooters to barangay roads only. At the same time, however, the order permits their use on “bicycle lanes or similar lanes designated by proper authorities” provided the rider is wearing a helmet.
MAPA’s move was met with backlash from electric kick scooter users and personal mobility advocates online. Petitions were made, and the issue was recently escalated to the Makati Central Estate Association (MACEA)—a local organization composed of Makati City property owners and businesses.
Now, electric kick scooter riders are still being stopped by MAPA enforcers, but are only being left with a warning. We reached out to Electric Kick Scooter Philippines co-founder Tim Vargas for more clarity on the issue, and according to him, navigating it isn’t very straightforward.
“Tuesday naninita na si MAPA. We escalated the same day kay MACEA. MACEA relaxed its rules internally. Pero MAPA still kind of finds a way na manita,” he said, adding that most of Makati City is made up of Barangay roads where the use of electric kick scooters is permitted.
“Complex yung issue to be honest. Working on things like this, hindi walk in the park.”
“We are just lessening our dependency sa kotse. To lessen traffic. Less traffic and everyone is happy,” he added. “This is targeted sa mga individuals who can ditch their cars for daily transport.”
This could be an issue to watch out for if you’re a user of personal mobility devices. What’s your take on this?