Transport group appeals for temporary jeep fare hike amid hefty diesel price

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 7) — Transport group Pasang Masda has urged the outgoing Duterte administration to grant their appeal for provisional jeepney fare hike as more drivers opt to stop operations due to soaring diesel prices.

The transport group wants the minimum jeepney fare to raise from P9 to P10. Pasang Masda president Obet Martin has appealed to Transportation Secretary Art Tugade to grant the P1 temporary increase, saying the additional P200 per day a driver can earn from that can cushion the soaring diesel prices.

Martin has assured the transport group will "immediately" initiate the rollback once the fuel prices normalize, just like what happened in October 2018 when drivers were granted P1-fare increase which was reverted after a month.

"Ito ang pinakamabigat na laban namin. Sa buong kasaysayan, 50 taon na ako sa transportasyon, ngayon lang ako umabot ng P82/liter ng diesel," he told CNN Philippines on Tuesday.

[Translation: This is our hardest fight. In my 50 years in the transport sector, this is the first time I've witnessed P82/liter of diesel.]

The Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) added the recent hefty price hike of P6.55/liter of diesel is leaving jeepney drivers with no choice but to stop their trips.

"Ayaw mang gawin pero dahil hindi na kumikita. Ang kita ngayon ng driver halos P300 na lang sa loob ng 16 to 18 hours na pamamasada. Tumaas pa, baka maiuwi ng mga drayber P200 na lamang," PISTON president Mody Floranda said on Tuesday.

[Translation: They don't want to do it, but they're no longer earning. Before they were only earning P300 after working for 16 to 18 hours. Now maybe that will go down to P200.]

Early this year, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) rejected the request of transport groups to temporarily increase the fare. The government opted to distribute ₱6,500 fuel subsidy in March. However, several public utility drivers complained of not receiving the financial aid.

LTFRB Executive Director Kristina Cassion on Tuesday said that around 63,000 of over 264,000 targeted beneficiaries have yet to receive the cash aid.

Financial assistance to 20,263 delivery riders out of the 27,777 listed by the Department of Trade and Industry has also been disbursed, and the LTFRB will start next week the disbursement of aid for tricycle drivers after receiving the list of beneficiaries from the Department of Interior and Local Government.