Commuting in the Philippines can be a hellish experience. Driving is also challenging given heavy traffic in the metropolis.
Grim road conditions have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic as quarantine protocols paralyzed public transportation at some point, leaving Filipinos with fewer options to get around the metropolitan area—until city dwellers turned to bikes.
Over the past months, there has been a boom in the use of two-wheeled transportation such as bicycles, scooters and electric motorcycles, which are more convenient and cheaper to maintain. And for some, it’s a means to exercise. To top it all, these are more environment-friendly transportation alternatives.
This prompted finance professional-turned-entrepreneur Anna Moncupa to help expand the use of bikes and e-scooters in the city last year by establishing Moovr—the first app-enabled bike and e-scooter sharing service in the Philippines.
This year, Moovr is broadening its footprint in Makati after initially operating in Bonifacio Global City (BGC).
Moncupa noted how the number of riders in Metro Manila had swelled during the pandemic, with some people abandoning their cars for intercity movement.
With Moovr, urban residents may now rent bikes and e-scooters by the hour or even by the minute, without worrying about parking and maintenance. It is also ideal for those who do not have the means to buy their own bikes and scooters yet but are itching to experience using these two-wheelers on a daily basis.
The daughter of veteran banker Antonio Moncupa Jr., the chief executive officer of EastWest Bank, she was a banking and finance professional before turning to entrepreneurship. After college, she started as a management trainee at HSBC, became an account officer at EastWest, and dabbled in stock brokerage at BA Securities.
It’s in problem-solving that she found her passion and purpose, driving her pursuit to create new startups. Besides Moovr, Moncupa also runs storage service company Keepr Storage Solutions and Independent Venture, a currency exchange provider.
Moncupa is not exactly reinventing the wheel. Bike rental has been popular elsewhere in the world, particularly in Europe and North America. But in top local central business districts Makati and BGC, she is the first to organize an app-based rental system for two-wheelers.
Those who would like to pedal their way around the city may download the Moovr app to register. Once a profile is activated, the app can find the nearest Moovr hub, where the rider may select a vehicle and unlock it by scanning the QR code.
Bikes are rented out for P20 per 15 minutes or P80 per hour, and e-scooters for P50 per 20 minutes or P150 per hour.
For electric scooters, remember to return them to the hubs once battery has gone down to 15 percent. Riders may use the app as well to find the nearest designated parking spots.
Moovr also offers a monthly subscription package of P1,200 for those who go around Makati daily. Payments are made using e-wallets.
Moovr recently partnered with property giant Ayala Land to establish 11 bicycle and scooter hubs in Makati—seen as the perfect testing ground, being the leading bike-friendly district in Metro Manila.
There are about 120 e-scooters and 160 bikes so far made available by Moovr in Makati.
Riders are encouraged to use their own helmets. “It’s a very personal item. It should be a proper fit for the rider. It is for that reason that we don’t rent helmets for hygiene reasons as well,” Moncupa said.
Shiella Aguilar, Ayala Land’s estate development manager in Makati, said Moovr had the potential to be a catalyst for bicycle usage.
“We have provided facilities for new modes of transportation such as bikes and e-scooters as part of our revitalization program. We have dedicated bike lanes in Makati Avenue and in other areas provided by the local government. Even in our pedestrian passes, we have incorporated designs that would allow bikers to descend their vehicles into stairs. Overall, we continue to improve the biking experience in Makati to be more safe and pleasant,” she said.
By the end of the year, new bike stations will also be installed in more areas to pave the way for new bike-and-dine initiatives in parklets.
Moncupa said riders shouldn’t worry about maintenance. Vehicles are checked and disinfected two to three times daily by Moovr’s ground personnel. A ticket system is also available in the app where riders may report issues.
This is only the beginning of Moovr’s expansion. The bike-sharing app will eventually cover other areas of the metropolis where riding is safe and convenient.
The hope is to get more people to use green modes of transportation and encourage safer and more accommodating road infrastructure for all. And it won’t hurt to see more Filipinos log in a few minutes of exercise on their way to work.