By Jigger J. Jerusalem
THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Thursday said it was considering calls to increase the minimum fare for the region’s thousands of public jeepneys.
An official however said the increase may not increase the minimum jeepney fare to P10 as sought by a public transport group. He said the minimum fare could be increased to P8.
Aminoden Guro, LTFRB director for northern Mindanao, said the agency’s central office is still deliberating on granting the region’s transport associations’ petition for a minimum P10-fare from the current P7.
The proposed increase would mean an additional P3 in the minimum fare for jeepney commuters in northern Mindanao, but Guro said it would be unlikely that the proposed minimum P10-fare would be approved.
He said the LTFRB may grant an increase of up to P8 since the base fare in Metro Manila is P9.
Guro said the minimum fare in other areas must not be equal or greater than the National Capital Region’s as the cost of living in Metro Manila is higher than in other areas.
“We are still considering the P10-increase but it will not be approved since the minimum in Metro Manila is already P9,” he said.
If approved by the LTFRB national office, P8 would likely become the minimum jeepney fare in the region, he said.
National Confederation of Transport Union regional coordinator Joel Gabatan said his group submitted the petition to the LTFRB for a minimum P10-fare this July 16.
“We are still waiting for the approval of our petition,” Gabatan said.
Guro said the LTFRB has also issued Memorandum Circular 2019-035 this July detailing the fare-adjustment formula that would be implemented whenever there is an increase in petroleum products.
“The increase in the fare will be dependent on the price adjustment on fuel,” he said.
For instance, if the rate of fuel goes down to P20 per liter, Guro said, the minimum fare in northern Mindanao would still be P8, granting that the LTFRB has already granted the petition.
But, he said, if the prices of petroleum products increase by P3 to P5 per liter, about P.50 or P1 could be added to the minimum fare.
Meanwhile, Guro has reminded the bus operators in the region to check the condition of their vehicles in light of the Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. (RTMI) bus that caught fire in Malaybalay City recently.
Based on the investigation, a faulty electrical wiring was the cause for the conflagration.
It was also found out, Guro said, that the bus that went up in flames was already 10 years old.
The LTFRB has limited the roadworthiness of buses up to 15 years only.
“I have advised the RTMI management to upgrade their fleet. Even if their buses are not yet 15 years old but are no longer roadworthy, they must replace them,” he said.
He said operators must report any incident involving their vehicles to the LTFRB within 72 hours or they would be penalized.
Also, starting next year, the LTFRB would no longer renew the franchises of public utility vehicles operators if they would not upgrade their units.
Guro said that by 2020, public vehicles must already be equipped with closed-circuit television cameras, dashboard cameras, global positioning systems, and others in compliance with the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines and the public utility vehicle modernization program of the government.