Piston backs oil price rollback over ‘surge pricing’ for jeeps
Instead of approving the bid of a group of jeepney operators to implement a “surge pricing” scheme during peak hours, the leader of militant jeepney transport group Piston urged the government to flex its regulatory powers to reduce fuel prices.
“That way, instead of raising fares and making the public suffer, the government could step in and temper the price of diesel,” Piston leader George San Mateo said in an interview on Tuesday.
Roll back diesel price to P36
He said that rolling back diesel prices to P36 per liter would make the current P8 minimum jeepney fare sustainable.
Last week, around 22 operators plying routes in Marikina and Quezon City urged the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to raise the minimum rate to P10 for nonairconditioned jeepneys, and P12 for airconditioned units.
On top of this, they also sought a P1 rush hour rate similar to the surge pricing scheme implemented by transport network companies like Grab.
The petitioners said they were having problems coping with rising pump prices although the fare hike would benefit only those that had already switched to Euro-4 jeepneys.
If approved, passengers who ride in nonairconditioned jeepneys would pay up to P11 during rush hour (from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.) while those in airconditioned units would be charged P13.
San Mateo, however, criticized the proposal, saying that implementing it would essentially “deregulate” the fares for jeepneys and pass the buck to commuters.
“[Such a scheme] violates the principle of government regulation on fares for public utility vehicles. Once that is implemented, drivers and passengers would find themselves in chaos. Unlike Grab, jeepneys have no applications that predetermine surge prices. Who will determine whether a ride is [during] rush hour or not?” he said.
90% minimum wage earners
He added that around 90 percent of the millions of everyday jeepney riders were minimum wage earners.
“Even a peso hike could significantly affect their daily life. If Grab riders can afford not to get their P2 change from their driver, it’s different for jeepney riders, for whom every peso counts,” San Mateo said.
A general oil price rollback would significantly solve drivers’ woes, he stressed.
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