Transport group urges ‘fair’ use of fare subsidy
Transport group Piston on Thursday called for a “careful” and “fair” implementation of the government’s plan to use the P2-billion budget for fare discounts, saying that the disbursement of funds should not be limited to consolidated entities only.
“Our fear here is that the government might use it exclusively for consolidated franchises, to force the phaseout,” Modesto Floranda, Piston president, said in a statement.
The group underscored that the disbursement of the budget for the service contracting program (SCP) should not be restricted to consolidated franchises “to ensure a just and unbiased distribution” of the project’s benefits.
While Piston welcomed the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) initiative to alleviate the plight of commuters, it said the government should instead prioritize implementing “substantial” wage hikes for workers “rather than forcing drivers and small operators to shoulder the burden of lowering fare prices.”
On Wednesday, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced that the agency was preparing to implement the DOTr’s fare discount proposal, which will replace the previous “libreng sakay” or free ride program at the Edsa Bus Carousel.
READ: LTFRB to implement PUV discounts
From the current P12 minimum fare for traditional jeepneys, the amount will be reverted to its prepandemic rate of P9. The recommended discounted fare for modern jeepneys would be P11 from the current P14 while up to P4 would be discounted from bus fares, according to the DOTr.
“We are just waiting for the downloading of the money to the LTFRB. After that, the service contracting [program] will continue,” LTFRB chair Teofilo Guadiz III said in a statement.
In an interview with Unang Balita, Transportation Undersecretary Mark Steven Pastor said the proposed fare discount for public utility vehicles (PUVs) would be implemented in Metro Manila and other select routes nationwide in April.
He said the DOTr would work with local governments to identify which routes or cities with the highest number of passengers would be included in the SCP. Due to the limited budget (P1.285 billion from the General Appropriations Act and P875 million from the department’s unprogrammed funds), Pastor said they were projecting to implement the PUV discount for up to six months only.
He likewise clarified that the drivers and operators under the SCP would receive their pay either on a weekly or two-week cycle.
Modern jeepney prototype gets approval of LTFRB
DOTr says it never recommended immediate traditional jeepney phaseout
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