LTFRB eyes jeepney fare hike in North Mindanao
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY –– An official of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Northern Mindanao on Thursday said LTFRB had been considering an increase in the minimum fare for thousands of public utility jeepneys in the region, though not the amount that transport groups were asking.
LTFRB-10 regional director Aminoden Guro said the agency’s central office had been deliberating on the transport groups’ petition to increase the PUV’s minimum fare in Northern Mindanao from P7 to P10.
The proposed increase would mean an additional fare of P3 for commuters in Northern Mindanao, but Guro said it would be unlikely that the P10 minimum fare would be approved.
He said the LTFRB may grant an increase of up to P8 since the base fare in Metro Manila was still at P9.
Guro said the minimum fare in other areas must not be equal or greater than those in the National Capital Region as the cost of living there was much higher than those in other areas.
“We are still considering the P10 increase but it will not be approved since the minimum in Metro Manila is still at P9,” he added.
Once approved by the LTFRB national office, the P8 would become the minimum fare for the region, he said.
Joel Gabatan, regional coordinator of the National Confederation of Transport Union, said in an interview that the NCTU submitted their petition to the LTFRB for a P10 minimum fare in Northern Mindanao on July 16 last year but the group was still waiting for results.
“We are still waiting for the approval of our petition,” Gabatan said.
Guro said the LTFRB had issued memorandum circular 2019-035 in July detailing the fare adjustment formula to be implemented whenever there is a movement in the prices of petroleum products in the world market.
“The increase in the fare will be dependent on the price adjustment of fuel,” he said.
For instance, if the rate of fuel goes down to P20 per liter, Guro said the minimum fare in Northern Mindanao would still be at P8, granting that the LTFRB had already granted the transport groups’ petition.
But if petroleum products increased by P3 to P5 per liter, about P.50 or P1 could be added to the minimum fare, he said.
Guro also reminded bus operators in the region to check on the condition of their units in the light of the recent incident in Malaybalay City where a bus unit of the Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. bus caught fire.
An investigation attributed the burning incident to faulty electrical wiring. The bus that went up in flames was also found to be already 10 years old, Guro said.
“I have advised the RTMI management to upgrade their fleet. Even if their buses are not yet 15 years old, they must replace them if these are no longer road worthy,” he said.
Starting next year, the LTFRB will no longer renew the franchises of public utility vehicles if operators fail to upgrade their units.
Guro said that by 2020, PUVs must already be equipped with a closed-circuit television camera, dashboard camera, and global positioning system to comply with government requirements. /lzb
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