LTFRB 7 director issues clarification on latest fare hike

·3 min read

THE fare increase for public utility vehicles (PUVs), particularly the P1 hike for traditional and modernized jeepneys, is already permanent and no longer provisional, according to Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTFRB 7) Director Eduardo Montealto Jr.

Montealto told SunStar Cebu that a P2 provisional base fare was approved in June and became effective in July this year, but the LTFRB only granted a P1 permanent base fare.

“If it’s provisional, the hike can be voided, especially if the price of diesel, which is the number one factor for the increase, goes down. But since it is permanent, a consultative meeting among stakeholders will be needed to adjust the fare,” Montealto said in Cebuano on Saturday, September 17, a day after the LTFRB Central Office announced the fare increase for PUVs.

On Friday, September 16, LTFRB approved the provisional base fare increase for jeepneys, buses, taxis and Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS).

In a statement, the LTFRB said the minimum fare for the first four kilometers for traditional public utility jeepneys (TPUJ) is P12 from the current P11, with an additional fare of P.30 per succeeding kilometer. For modern PUJs, the base fare is P14 from the current P13, with an additional P.40 every succeeding kilometer exceeding four kilometers.

"Based on the increase, the fare for the succeeding kilometer run for TPUJ will be P1.80 from the current P1.50, while for MPUJ, [it] will be P2.20 from P1.80," the agency said.

Jeepney drivers earlier filed a petition seeking a P3 increase in the minimum fare amid the series of oil price hikes brought about by the conflict in Ukraine.

For public utility buses, the LTFRB approved a P2 uniformed base fare increase for both city and provincial buses for the first five kilometers with an additional fare of P.35 to P.50 every succeeding kilometer, depending on the type of bus.

Bus groups had asked for a P4 to P7 fare increase.

The LTFRB also increased the flag-down rate of taxis from P40 to P45 and P55 for TNVS except for hatchback-type TNVS, of which the flag-down rate was set at P35.

"There will be no increase in the succeeding kilometers," the agency said.

The LTFRB said the 20 percent discount for senior citizens, persons with disability (PWDs) and students will remain.

The regional director said the LTFRB will not lower the fare if there is no consultation with commuters and drivers and operators, who serve as primary and secondary stakeholders, respectively.

Montealto said the effectivity of the fare increase will depend on its publication at the University of the Philippines (UP), which is the agency’s repository.

He said the baseline before the fare increase was based on the average cost of fuel prices, such as diesel, which, at that time, was P49. Now, the price hovers at P78-P79 per liter, which is why the LTFRB approved the petition for an increase, he said.

Meanwhile, Montealto asked the commuting public to be patient and understanding.

He said it is inhumane if the agency does not sustain the livelihood of drivers and operators, stressing that the government has already spent a lot on subsidies.

Gregory Perez, chairman of Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) Cebu chapter, told SunStar Cebu the transport group welcomed the development, but he felt bad for the commuting public.

“It will be an added burden to commuters, especially to low-income workers whose salaries have not changed,” he said in Cebuano.

He said they did not ask for a fare hike for PUVs.

He assured the public, though, that Piston members will grant the 20 percent discount to students, seniors and PWDs, as required by the law. / MKG