Bus group volunteers to reduce fares by P1
After seeking fare increases for years, bus companies are taking a different tack: Roll back fares.
A group of around 15 public utility bus (PUB) operators in Metro Manila have volunteered to reduce their minimum fares by P1.
Samahang Transport Operators ng Pilipinas Inc. (STOP) submitted on Wednesday a petition proposing a provisional fare rollback to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Under the proposal, the bus lines under STOP would reduce their rates for the first 4 kilometers—from P12 to P11 for air-conditioned buses and from P10 to P9 for regular buses. Rates for succeeding kilometers, however, shall remain the same.
“The purpose of this petition is to promote … the welfare of the commuting riding public, which is [of] paramount consideration in the operation of [STOP’s] business,” the group said.
The group was represented by its interim president and former transport party-list Rep. Homer Mercado.
The transport group was “aware of the reduced price of diesel fuel,” one of the “factors” leading to its decision to reduce fares, STOP lawyer Cesar Cainglet said in a talk with the media after filing the petition in the LTFRB main office in Quezon City.
While there are around 15 operators under STOP, Cainglet could not give offhand the number of bus lines and units with the group.
He said that most of STOP’s members were operating big-name city bus lines, such as HM Transport and BBL.
“There are a lot of buses involved here, the big companies,” Cainglet said.
LTFRB Chair Winston Ginez “welcomed” the group’s move.
“The only thing left to discuss is whether we should also reduce the rate for succeeding kilometers after the first 4 kilometers,” Ginez said.
He said the LTFRB already had “draft decisions” on fare adjustment petitions “for all provincial and Metro Manila” buses.
The petitions, including STOP’s, are expected to be deliberated on and resolved next week.
STOP’s voluntary reduction of fares comes on the heels of a P5-fare reduction of the express point-to-point buses (P2P) plying from Ortigas to Makati City, operated by HM Transport. Since Monday, fares for the P2P bus route have dropped from P55 to P50.
In January, amid sharp declines in international crude prices, four jeepney groups petitioned the LTFRB for a voluntary 50-centavo reduction in the minimum fare of P7.50 in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon provinces) because of falling diesel prices.
“It is reasonable to provisionally reduce the minimum fare for the first 4 kilometers of jeepney service from P7.50 to P7. However, for the succeeding kilometer, the same shall remain at P1.50,” the transport groups said in their common petition.
The groups involved are the Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations, Pasang Masda Nationwide Inc., Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines and Liga ng mga Tsuper at Operator sa Pilipinas Inc.
The LTFRB approved the petition and the cut in the minimum jeepney fare took effect on Jan. 22.
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