MANILA (UPDATED) — Transport groups have filed a 42-page petition before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) asking for a fare surcharge during rush hours in Metro Manila.
In their petition, public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers said the recent fare increases are “not enough to alleviate the woes of PUV operators” with the high oil prices, operational costs caused by inflation, and rush hour congestion in the cities.
The groups are asking for a P1 increase for jeepneys and P2 for buses from 5 a.m to 8 a.m., and from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. daily, except Sundays and national holidays.
The regulatory body earlier announced that they may no longer approve any fare hikes this year as they recently issued a series of increases.
On Oct. 3, a P1 increase in jeepney base fare and a P2 increase for buses took effect nationwide.
Pasang Masda, one of the groups that filed the surcharge petition, clarified that they are only asking for a temporary surcharge, not a fare hike.
“Ito naman ay hindi petition for fare increase. This is temporary during this time na talagang sobra na taas ng petroleum at apektado ang mga jeepney drivers kagaya ng itinaas ngayon… Mabigat na sa aming hanay yan,” Pasang Masda President Obet Martin said.
The group likened the surcharge to the fare increase app-based transport services (TNVS) charge passengers during rush hour.
However, the group said theirs is much simpler because the surcharge is based on particular hours, which does not need any technology like apps.
“Wala kaming apps na kagaya ng ginagamit ng TNVS. Kanya sa aming petition ay nakalagay na window hour sa'min… Sa aming pananaw, together with our lawyer, ay hindi naman ito magkakaroon ng komplikasyon sa aming mananakay, sapagkat may oras lamang ng paniningil ng dagdag piso, malayo po o malapit man ang pasahero," Martin said.
The LTFRB said it will study the surcharge petition, but it could take time before a decision could be made as the concept is "new" to the board.
“Hindi nga ito increase. Meron lang time na magtataas, yung surge. Kumbaga ibang mechanics ng pagtataas, hindi yung fixed ito eh. So palagay ko bago rin ito sa board pagdating sa PUJ. Nabanggit ko kanina, ito ay ginagawa sa TNVS based doon sa circular na may surge sila. Pero monitoring is through the apps, use of technology,” LTFRB Executive Director Joel Bolano said.
As of writing, the LTFRB has yet to find a schedule to hear the petition.
Meanwhile, the agency is asking the transport operators to claim their fare matrix to implement the recent fare increase.
The regulatory body disclosed that only 30 percent of the 260,000 transportation units so far have claimed the fare guide. This document is a requirement before the public transportation units can charge the passengers with the new rate.
“Base sa aming datos na kumukuha ng fare matrix, napakababa po ng kumukha. Ibig sabihin, hindi pa sila nagiincrease,” Bolano said.
“Kaya nga iniisip namin ano ba ang dahilan ng 'di pagkuha ng fare matrix? Open naman kami kahit Saturdays. We also provided a process na mas mabilis kumuha,” he added.