MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Monday granted a P1 provisional increase in the minimum fare rates for public utility jeepneys (PUJs) that will take effect Wednesday, February 2, 2011.
With the fare hike, jeepney fare in Metro Manila will now be P8 for the first four kilometers from the current P7 and P7.50, from the current rate of P6.50, in the regions.
However, the current P1.40 per succeeding kilometer rate for Metro Manila and P0.90 rate in the regions will not be affected, according to the two-page order signed by LTFRB Chairman Nelson Laluces and Board Member Samuel Garcia.
Laluces and Garcia outvoted Board Member Manuel Iway in approving the consolidated petition for provisional fare increase filed by various transport groups that also asked government permission to hike minimum jeepney fares by P1.50.
“The Board granted P1 provisional increase as it took judicial notice that the rising prices of goods and cost of maintaining operation are seriously affecting the livelihood of public utility vehicle (PUV) operators,” the order reads.
Aware of the public hullabaloo that its new decision will stir, especially after approving the P10 increase in taxi flagdown rates late last year, the LTFRB clarified that “while it is true that the interest of the riding public is the Board’s main concern, it also believes that it must also protect the rights of PUV operators who are serving a vital industry.”
Despite its decision, the LTFRB urged PUJ operators “to voluntarily reduce the minimum fare rate whenever prices of diesel would go down.” When the diesel cost was P52 per liter in July, 2008, the minimum fare was pegged at P8.50. PUJ operators voluntarily lowered the minimum fare to P8 when diesel price went down to P39.95 in November, 2008, to P7.50 when it dropped to P34.15 in December 2008, and P7 when it was lowered to P23 in February 2009. Presently, diesel is priced at P41 per liter