Another jeepney fare hike looms, but commuters’ group only supports slight increase

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 30) — A commuters’ group on Tuesday said that while it is amenable to another looming jeepney fare hike, it will only support a ₱2 increase.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said it is inclined to approve a pending fare hike petition because it understands the frustration of jeepney drivers and operators amid another hefty oil price increase.

"They are due talaga na for increase. Kasi the last time we had the fare rate increase ang level pa lang ng diesel noon ay ₱44 per liter," LTFRB chairperson Cheloy Garafil said on Monday. "Just the question of kung magkano ang maibibigay namin na hindi naman siya magkakaroon ng impact sa inflation at siyempre ‘yung effect niyan sa ating commuters."

[Translation: They are due for an increase because the last time we had a fare rate increase, diesel was priced at ₱44 per liter. It's a matter of determining how much will the increase be without impacting much on inflation and the commuters.]

Transport groups are asking the regulatory board to increase the minimum fare to ₱15 from the current ₱11 for traditional jeepneys. The agency said it hopes to issue the exact amount next week.

But National Center for Commuter Safety and Protection chairperson Elvira Medina said they are only supporting a ₱2 fare increase.

"We would accept another increase, but not that high," she told CNN Philippines' New Day. "We agree of another ₱2 increase, that means that's ₱13, not ₱15, because I think that is exorbitant on the part of an ordinary worker. That is very difficult for us to swallow that pill."

Liberty Luna, president of transport group Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (ACTO), said the approval would be a big help to the public utility vehicles sector bearing the brunt of the pandemic and increased fuel prices.

ACTO previously appealed for as much as a ₱5 hike in minimum fare.

"Pwede po kahit ₱3 o ₱5 ang ibigay sa amin, maraming salamat. Importante po madagdagan ang aming kinikita (Whether ₱3 or ₱5, we would be grateful for whatever increase will be granted to us. What matters is we will earn a bit more)," she told CNN Philippines' The Source.

Luna also called on the government to consider opening more routes that were closed during the lockdowns, and provide assistance to members of the PUV sector who have no means to take part in the modernization program.

In July, the LTFRB granted a provisional ₱2 fare hike to help jeepney drivers and operators amid soaring fuel prices.