Taxi, jeepney fare rollback imminent?

By Caroline Howard, ANC

Posted at Jun 28 2012 02:47 PM | Updated as of Jul 04 2012 08:38 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) may decide on the rollback in taxi fares by today or tomorrow.

Speaking on ANC's "Headstart," LTFRB Chair Jaime Jacob said it will take at least two months to calibrate taxi meters before the rollback can be implemented.
Jacob said the LTFRB may also come out with a decision on jeepney fares by mid-July.

"Sa pag-determine ng either increase or reduction, binabalanse namin yun interest ng transport company at ng mananakay, tapos yung effect sa economy, yun ang nagging basehan ng pagdedesisyon," he said.

A petition was filed by the National Center for Commuter Safety and Protection (NCCSP) seeking to lower the minimum jeepney fare to P7.50.

New guidelines

The LTFRB is also drafting new guidelines that will subject bus franchises to public bidding.

He said bus companies planning to give up their franchises will not be allowed to sell or transfer them to another entity. Instead, the franchises will be returned to the government, which will, in turn, bid them out to interested companies.

He said only those with a fleet of at least 20 buses can be awarded a franchise.

"Ang gagawin namin ngayon, eh na-draft ko na yun bagong pong franchise, wala nang benta, except thru public bidding, bawal na yun sale and transfer habang nasayo yun franchise, kung ayaw mo na, isoli mo sa gobyerno, at ibebenta thru public bidding."

Fixed salary system

Also, the status of franchises may soon also depend on how bus companies comply with the order of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to implement the fixed salary system for drivers and conductors beginning July.

Jacob said the move is aimed at helping reduce reckless driving and road accidents.

"The first half should not be less than the minimum wage of the region, the second one will be based on net revenue of company... Unlike sa commission, ang basis ng share ng driver is yung safety records niya kung walang aksidente, walang traffic violations, at walang reklamo yung pasahero, mas malaki magiging share niya,” he said.

"Ang kaibahan ngayon, ang incentive nila, di base sa dami ng pasahero, kundi sa safety records nila performance sa kalsada," he added.

Some bus operators are opposed to the minimum wage system, while bus drivers and conductors are split over the matter of fixed salaries.

The DOLE earlier said bus operators who fail to comply with the wage order by year-end risk not having their franchises renewed, or worse, having them cancelled.

Easing traffic congestion

To avoid traffic congestion, the LTFRB will also prohibit the use of phased-out vehicles within the year.

He said special “intermobile” terminals will be operational by 2014.

"Yung pagtanggal nung mga phased-out na sasakyan gagawin natin yan within the year. Yung pagsara ng bagong franchises isa yan, habang ginagawa yung nationwide survey para i-determine kung saan may kulang yung pagtayo ng intermobile terminals para yung mga galing probinsya di makapasok sa Metro Manila,” he said.

"Manggagaling ng isa galing sa south, isa galing sa north. Due for awardng na siya after bidding within the year, one-year construction siguro yung terminal, by 2014 operational na siya."

Despite the initial discomfort for motorists, Jacob said the changes will be beneficial in the long run.