TAXI operators said they will file a fare hike petition within the week before the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB), saying they cannot cope with the continued rise in petroleum prices.

They said they have been holding back on a fare increase for the past six years but like their counterparts operators of passenger buses and jeepneys, the latest round of oil price hike is just too much.

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Bus and jeep fares had been adjusted four times since 2004, while taxi fares remained stationary even though they are using the same petroleum products.

“Inaayos na natin at pina-finalize ang draft ng ating petition sa LTFRB at sa loob ng linggong ito maipa-file na natin ito,” said Manuel Suntay, president of the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA).

Suntay said they hope the public will understand their predicament.

“Mga 2008 pa nagpaplano na kami humingi ng fare hike at gawing P40 ang flag down rate mula sa P30 pero nagawan namin ng paraan dahil sa nag-shift kami sa Liquified Petroleum Gas pero sa ngayon kahit auto-LPG tumaas na rin ang presyo so wala na talaga kaming mapuntahan,” he added.

Comparing prices then and now, he said that LPG and gas prices then stood at P17 and P24 per liter, while today’s prices were P27 and P43 per liter, respectively.

Several transport groups such as the Pasang Masda and the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Fejodap) have earlier manifested their desire to ask for a fare hike.

Fejodap is seeking the return of the 50 centavo provisional fare that was rescinded last year.

For his part, LTFRB chair Alberto Suansing said they will have to conduct first a hearing on any petition for fare hike, be it from the taxi or jeepney operators.

“Kung magsa0submit ang mga txi operators ngayon to raise the flag down rate to P40 ay didinggin muna naming. Tatawagin naming ang mga taxi at consumer groups para makuha din ang kanilang panig,” Suansing said. (AH/Sunnex)