Issue of May 20, 2018
Mt. Province

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P14 fare hike on jeepneys reviewed
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

Do the math.

The Land Transportation, Franchising, and Regulatory Board wants more evidence to justify the petition to increase jeepney fares in Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay.

In a public hearing on May 15, the LTFRB-CAR has ordered the petitioners to submit their formula on how they were able to come up with the proposed P14 fare increase for the first four kilometers plus P2 for every succeeding kilometer.

The oppositors, on the other hand, were ordered to submit their alternative rate.

The petitioners, composed of the Alliance of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Associations in BLISTT Inc. and five other jeepney associations, were also ordered to submit duly certified copies of consumer price index containing a comprehensive explanation from the National Economic Development Authority, and comparative prices of fuel signed by either the Department of Energy or official representatives of fuel companies operating in the region.

These documents, along with other evidences, will be used by the LTFRB in assessing if a jeepney fare increase is justified or not.

In their request for fare increase, the petitioners said the continuing increases in the prices of petroleum products, as well as spare parts commonly used by jeepneys have rendered obsolete the current fare rates and failed to cope with the high cost of maintenance and operations of jeepneys.

In their amended opposition, the oppositors, represented by Joseph Claridades, Teresita Castro, Francis Oca, Marvin Herrera, Mary Grace Bandoy, and Freddie Guisdan, said they are not entirely against the jeepney fare increase but not at the rate proposed by the petitioners.

They said the fare should be based on prevailing economic conditions in the region, and that there should also be an improvement in the services as well.

The oppositors also argued that during the many times fuel price rollbacks have been implemented, fares never decreased as a result.

“There have been countless decreases in the prices of fuel to which fare rates should have been decreased too, but decreases in fare rates were never implemented. This is unfair to the commuting public,” the oppositors said.

“Oppositors and the public at large stand on equal footing as the petitioners, their drivers, and their families. We are all affected by the increased prices of goods and services, thereby petitioners cannot claim to be the only ones disadvantaged by said increases,” the oppositors added.

Both camps have until May 25 to submit documentary evidences, along with their position papers. After which, the LTFRB-CAR would decide whether to call for another hearing and subpoena the DOE, NEDA, or other concerned government agencies when necessary, or make its recommendation based on the documents submitted.

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