PUV fare discount to cover select routes – LTFRB

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 16) — The planned fare discount on public utility vehicles will only cover selected routes, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said Thursday.

"Across the country, pero select routes because of the limited funds. It should be high-demand routes, mataas ang ridership para maramdaman 'yung level of service at itong service contracting program," LTFRB Technical Division Head Joel Bolano told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: Across the country, but only on select routes due to limited funds. It should be high-demand routes, those with high ridership, so everyone can feel the level of service and the service contracting program.]

Bolano did not mention the specific routes covered by the program.

The LTFRB plans to slash the current minimum fare of ₱12 to the pre-pandemic rate of ₱9 through the service contracting program, which has an allotted budget of ₱1.2 billion.

Bolano assured PUV drivers that they will be able to recover the ₱3 deficit.

"'Yung discount po, hindi mababawas sa driver. Babayaran po 'yan ng ating pamahalaan, isa-subsidize po 'yan," he said.

[Translation: The discount will not be charged to the drivers. The government will shoulder it, it will be subsidized.]

Meanwhile, transport group PISTON is worried that the program will favor jeepney drivers who have consolidated franchises, in line with the government's PUV modernization program.

"Ang pangamba namin dito ay baka gamitin ito ng pamahalaan na ekslusibo lang sa mga consolidated na prangkisa, para sapilitang itulak pa rin ang phaseout," said PISTON national president Mody Floranda in a statement.

[Translation: We are worried that the government will only cover those who have consolidated franchises, so that the phaseout will still push through.]

Some transport groups earlier staged a week-long strike against the modernization program. It was cut short after Malacañang agreed to further study the policy.

With reports from CNN Philippines correspondent Currie Cator and senior multi-platform news writer Vince Ferreras