Student fare discount on all public transport pushed in Senate
MANILA, Philippines–Senator Sonny Angara urged the Senate on Friday to immediately pass a bill seeking a 20-percent fare discount for students on all kinds of public transportation utilities, including air, water and rail transport systems.
The House of Representatives has already approved on third and final reading a counterpart version of the bill in November last year while the Senate has yet to pass its own version of the bill.
“I am appealing to our colleagues here in the Senate to pass our version so as to lessen the impact of current economic difficulties brought by the rising cost, not only of the LRT and MRT fares, but of basic commodities and education as well,” Angara said in a statement.
The senator made the call amid the recent fare rate increase in the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT).
“Majority of Metro Manila students, who depend on the affordability of LRT and MRT, will definitely suffer from the recent fare hike. We should assist the parents and students in shouldering transportation expenses relative to the rising cost of education in our country,” he said.
At present, the grant of student fare discounts in jeepneys and buses is only through a memorandum circular of the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Angara said.
The senator then filed Senate Bill No. 203 to put the thrust of the LTFRB circular forward by institutionalizing the grant of discount privilege to students on all land, water, air and rail transport utilities.
If enacted, he said, the 20-percent discount will apply to regular domestic fares in airplanes and ferries, while the LRT and MRT are mandated to designate a student/senior citizen fare booth in their boarding stations.
Student fare discount will also be applicable not only during school days but also on weekends and holidays.
Under the bill, students who are refused the fare discount privilege may file their complaints with the LTFRB, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), or the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) for the LRT and MRT.
Drivers, conductors or inspectors of land transport utilities, and firms, establishments or agencies of water, air and rail transport utilities who refuse to provide discounts will be also be fined and penalized with suspension of license as provided for in the proposed legislation.
“If students from highly developed countries like UK can benefit from fare discounts, I think our underprivileged Filipino students need and deserve more this kind of assistance from the government,” Angara added.
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