BAGUIO CITY – Various transport groups in the Cordillera petitioned the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to order a status quo in the clamor for fare rollback following the big time oil price increase that made the situation complicated.
During a recent fare rollback consultation, representatives from jeepney drivers and operators associations, taxi groups, bus and vans organizations were unified in arguing that the recent big time oil price hike is an indication that the international oil price is fragile and that there will be no longer rollbacks that would greatly affect their future income.
The representatives of the transport groups claimed aside from the unstable oil prices, the high maintenance cost of their vehicles, the high cost of spare parts in the region, the increase in filing fees from concerned government agencies, the increase in the fees being charged by the Cordillera office of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR-CAR) among others were contributory in their peal for status quo in the pending far rollback proposal now with the LTFRB central office.
Under the proposal, public utility jeepneys are supposed to rollback the current minimum fare from P8.50 to P8.00 for the first four kilometres, taxis are supposed to reduce the P35 flag down rate to P30 for the first four hundred meters, buses are said to reduce the minimum fare of P8.50 for the first kilometres to P8.00 and that the P1.35 for the succeeding kilometre to P1.25 and vans are also supposed to reduce the P2.00 per kilometre minimum fare.
However, the representatives of the different transport groups cited the need to closely observe the prevailing situation in terms of the stability of the oil prices within the next several weeks in order to guarantee that the same will stabilize before they will make their formal position to agree with the proposed fare rollback for the benefit of the commuters.
Lawyer Brenda Poklay, LTFRB hearing officer and legal officer of the Cordillera office of the Department of Transportation Communication (DOTC-CAR), said the manifestations of the representatives of the concerned transport groups were recorded and the LTFRB-CAR will refer to its central office the findings and recommendations of the agency if there will be any for it to render the final decision on the proposed fare rollback.
“We respect the positions of the different transport groups. We took note of their arguments and we will submit the same to our central office which will render the final ruling on the matter,” Poklay said.
Apart from the issues raised by the representatives of the transport groups, they also claimed the mountainous terrain in the region will entail the consumption of bigger volume of fuel, greater depreciation cost of their motor vehicles coupled with the increase in fines imposed against violators of traffic rules and regulations.
For garage vans, their representatives argued that they had been collecting from their passengers fares from their points of origin to their points of destination which are much lower compared to the P2.00 per kilometre required by the regulating agency.
Poklay claimed overcharging and undercharging of fares are considered to be violations of the land transportation code but they will only entertain complaints once they are filed in writing with the agency so that they can appropriately dispose off the pending matters for the benefit of the welfare of the greater majority of the people. By Dexter A. See