LTFRB grants P1 bus fare hike

Published by rudy Date posted on March 27, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Citing increases in fuel prices and the recent turmoil in oil-producing countries that have “burdened” the transport sector, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has granted a P1 provisional increase in fares for buses in Metro Manila.

In a resolution signed Friday, the board approved the fare adjustment for the first five kilometers. However, there will be no provisional increase on the succeeding kilometers.

This will result in a fare of P10 for the five kilometers and P1.85 for every succeeding kilometer for ordinary buses. As for air-conditioned buses, the adjusted fare will be P12 for the first five kilometers and P2.20 for every succeeding kilometer.

According to the LTFRB, the provisional fare adjustment will take effect on Tuesday and shall be in place until the final disposition of a pending petition for fare hike of Inter-city Bus Operators Association (Interboa), or unless modified or cancelled by the board.

Interboa and other operators’ associations have asked the LTFRB to revoke past orders concerning the provisional reduction of fare rates for buses.

“This board is constrained to grant a provisional increase in the (public utility buses or PUBs) fare rates in accordance with… the Public Service Act,” the resolution stated.

The board said while it recognizes the plight of the commuting public “in this time of crisis,” it could not be insensitive to the clamor of the operators.

“For this year alone, the country has experienced a total of 10 price increases with only one rollback on diesel prices. March 15, 2011 data (show) the price of diesel stands at around P46.65 per liter, with no sufficient indication that the oil price in the world market will stabilize and revert back to its previous prices,” the board said.

“This, compounded by growing political uncertainties in oil-producing countries, has caused unnecessary burden on the transport sector,” it added.

LTFRB chairman Nelson Laluces and board member Samuel Julius Garcia approved of the resolution while board member Manuel Iway offered a dissenting opinion.

Iway said “judicial notice should be taken that Visayas and Mindanao’s fuel prices are higher by as much as P5 compared to Luzon’s fuel prices and still, a petition was filed in Region 7 praying for a reduction of fare rates on PUBs from P8.50 to P6 for the first five kilometers and from P1.40 to P1.20 for every succeeding kilometer.”

Iway said this case raises a presumption that even with the fuel price increase, the bus operators can still operate profitably.

The board resolution also said buses should grant senior citizens, disabled persons and students a 20-percent fare discount upon presentation of their identification or registration cards. –Reinir Padua (The Philippine Star)

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