LTFRB: No school bus fare increase

Manila, Philippines -- The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) yesterday encouraged parents to report school service operators who increase student service fares in the upcoming school year.

LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez said the Board has neither received nor approved any petition to increase fares of any school service vehicle as of yesterday.

Ginez told reporters in a press conference that school service operators should seek the LTFRB's approval before even hiking rates for the transportation service of students.

LTFRB Executive Director Roberto Cabrera III said parents can file a complaint against school service operators if they could not show them an LTFRB decision approving their fare hike.

"We remind parents especially as the school year is about to start that all fare rates of school service vehicles should be approved by the LTFRB," Cabrera said.

"Parents of schoolchildren can write us for clarification," he said.

Ginez appealed to local chief executives and barangay chiefs to monitor the overloading of tricycles used to ferry students to school.

Ginez said the operation of tricycles is regulated by the local government and ensuring that these only ferry a maximum of four passengers falls on the local executives.

"We are appealing to mayors and barangay chiefs to strictly regulate the operation of tricycles being used as school service. The maximum seating capacity for this denomination is only four," he said.

The LTFRB chief also warned public utility jeepney operators who moonlight as school service drivers that they will be penalized for their illegal operation.

"Jeepneys that operate as school service vehicle should not be used as public utility vehicles because these vehicles should be painted with yellow and black stripes and have markings as school service vehicles," he said.

It is also the obligation of operators and drivers of school service vehicles to ensure the safety of their student-passengers by putting screens in the windows or open portions of their units, and keeping first aid kits and fire extinguisher as safety precaution in case of accidents.

For the part of PUJ operators, Obet Martin of Pasang Masda said jeepney drivers will start giving students their 20 percent fare discount starting June 3.

As per LTFRB Memorandum Circular 2011-004, PUV operators are obliged to grant pre-school, elementary, secondary, and college students fare discounts during school days, otherwise they can be fined P2,000 for the first offense of non-granting of discounts, P3,000 fine with suspension of franchise for 60-days and confiscation of for hire plates, and cancellation of franchise for the third offense.

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