Saturday , June 23, 2018

Briones: Fare hike

I DON’T understand.

Since I’ve gone native, mingling with the commuting masses, I’ve been handing P7 as minimum fare to jeepney drivers and conductors.

So when I found out about yesterday morning’s public hearing on the petition to raise the amount from P6.50 to P8, I was left scratching my head.

I totally forgot that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) started enforcing the P6.50 rate in February 2016, when diesel prices fell the year before, because jeepney drivers and conductors never returned the P.50 change to my P7, not that I expected them to since I thought, all along, that the minimum fare was P7.

Anyway, according to my source, the LTFRB is dead set on giving in to the demand of the Basak Lapu-Lapu Jeepney Operators and Drivers’ Association (Balacjoda).

The Cebu Integrated Transport Service Cooperative also filed a similar petition, which it later withdrew, but it only asked for a P1 increase.

LTFRB 7 Director Ahmed Cuizon said the riding public must present good reasons for opposing the petition if they want to prevent an increase, which will apply to the entire Central Visayas, not “if” but “when” approved. Or so my source said.

How’s this for a good reason?

Jeepney drivers and conductors have been collecting P7 as minimum fare all this time. In other words, since February 2016, they’ve been shortchanging the riding public.

Let them first return the P.50 that they knowingly withheld during this period before the government okays the petition.

Somebody come up with a computation and show it to them. The amount should be enough to offset whatever it is they’ve been shelling out since diesel prices started going up.

I know they’re only trying to earn a living. But heck, so is everyone else who constitute the riding public.

Let me get this straight, though.

I’m not against any fare increase. What I violently oppose is how they hoodwinked everybody for more than a year and think they can get away with it with not just a pat on the shoulder but also extra change in their pocket.

Why do they feel entitled? What makes them different from other blue collar professionals?

Is it because they’ve been described as the “undisputed king of the road”?

They weave in and out of traffic with reckless abandon with their devil-may-care attitude, stopping wherever they want to pick up passengers but insisting on going to the jeepney stop when a passenger wants to alight.

And I bet you, when they get into accidents, their passengers aren’t even insured.

But I’ll stop my ranting. After all, the days of their monopoly on the streets are numbered.