School service group may raise rates as face-to-face classes return

Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 13 2022 07:37 PM

MANILA — The National Alliance of School Service Association said on Wednesday its members might charge higher rates in the upcoming school year to recover losses during the COVID-19 pandemic and keep the business afloat amid high diesel prices.

After 2 years of being idle, school service vehicles may once again ply the roads after the education department set a return to full face-to-face classes by November. 

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Some parents and guardians have inquired about rates, but did not return calls, said Celso Dela Paz, president of the National Alliance of School Service Association. 

"Ang minimum namin ay nasa ₱2,000 halos nag-times-2, times-3 noon. Kung gagawin naming ₱4,000, ang sinasabi ng magulang ay sila na lang maghahatid or kaya sila ay magttricycle na lang. Iyon ang magiging problema namin malaki,” he told ABS-CBN News. 

(Our minimum rate was at P2,000, and our clients used to be twice, even thrice as many. If we raise the rate to P4,000, parents would say they'd rather drive their children to school or have them commute. That's our big problem.)

Dela Paz restarts the engine of his school service every now and then. Instead of plying students, he uses the vehicle as storage for unused boxes.

Out of his organization's 10,000, about half have dropped out of the industry, Dela Paz said.

He said some sold their units to start a new business. Others are waiting for full in-person classes and guidelines from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), he said. 

Rommel Mendoza sold all 3 of his school service units and instead bought a van for rent.

“Sa ngayon iyong mga school bus ko naibenta ko na. Depende ho iyan sa presyo po ng aming ibibigay sa customer namin. Sa mga sakay namin kasi kung ibibigay namin dating presyo, para kaming nagpakahirap kami na wala nang kikitain,” Mendoza said.

(I sold all of my school buses. It depends on the price we ask our customers. If we ask them to pay the old rates, it's like we're working hard for nothing.)

The group is also asking LTFRB to waive or reduce registration fees.

“Sana iyong penalty kasi magrerehistro ka, wala ka naman hanapbuhay. Iyon na lang hinihingi ko sa gobyerno. Iyon sanang penalty huwag muna iaano sa school service kasi magsisimula tayong lahat," Dela Paz said.

(I hope they waive the registration penalties because we haven't been working. That's all I ask from the government. I hope they don't charge us school service drivers because we're all starting over.)