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Transport groups want fare hike

MANILA, Philippines – Transport groups called for a new round of fare increase after successive oil price hikes this week but they have yet to formalize their petition before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

LTFRB Board Member Manuel Iway said no petition for fare increase has been submitted to the LTFRB as of noon yesterday, despite the pronouncements of several transport groups of their intention to seek government permission to increase the minimum jeepney fare from P8 to P8.50.

According to Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association (ALTODAP) president Melencio Vargas, a new fare increase is warranted after oil price hikes gravely affected the livelihood of Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators.

“With the current price of diesel, expenses on operating PUVs increased by P240 a day. Because of this, drivers are only able to bring home P300 from a whole day of working,” Vargas said.

Land Transportation Organization of the Philippines (LTOP) president Orlando Marquez said LTOP would not want to increase fares because the family of PUV drivers and operators are also commuters who will be affected by any fare increase. But he said there is no alternative than a fare increase.

Baguio Public Transport Office Federation president Perfecto Itliongsaid the government’s “Pantawid Pasada” program, that subsidizes a certain percentage of the PUV cost of fuel, was measly since not all PUVs benefitted from it.

“In Baguio City, for instance, where there are approximately 4,000 jeepneys, only 1,400 units have benefitted from the Pantawid Pasada program of the government,” Itliong said. (Kris Bayos)