P1 fare hike for PUJs to take effect on Oct. 8

File photo
File photo

AFTER WEEKS of successive increase in fuel prices, the Land Transportation and Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has granted a provisional P1 increase in jeepney fares on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023.

The LTFRB announced that the fare adjustment applies nationwide, impacting both traditional and modern jeepneys. The increase will be effective starting Sunday, Oct. 8.

Traditional jeepneys will see their minimum fare rise from P12 to P13, while modern jeepneys will experience an increase from P14 to P15.

However, this fare hike may only be temporary, as the LTFRB is still considering a petition for a more substantial P5 fare increase submitted by Pasang Masda, the Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization, and the Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines.

This petition seeks to raise the base fare for traditional jeepneys from P12 to P17 for the first four kilometers, with an additional increase of P2.80 for each subsequent kilometer.

The demand for these fare adjustments arose due to the persistent surge in fuel prices over an 11-week period, creating financial challenges for jeepney operators and drivers.

In Cebu, modern public utility vehicles (MPUVs) from other cooperatives and corporations are now operating on routes abandoned by the Bagong Jeep (Beep) Cebu after it temporarily stopped operations last Sunday, Oct. 1.

“Yes it is true that they really stopped their operations last Sunday, but we made sure the routes that they abandoned are taken over by MPUV units from other cooperatives and corporations,” Reynaldo Elnar, chief transportation development officer of the LTFRB 7, told SunStar Cebu on Tuesday.

Many commuters became worried after a memorandum from Beep Cebu made rounds on social media last week, entailing the firm’s desire to temporarily stop operations.

In a phone call last Sept. 26, LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. said he initially became aware of Beep Cebu’s intention when a memorandum originally intended for internal communication was posted online by a local radio station on Sept. 25.

Public concerns

Jessa Faith Pepito, a 24-year-old junior architect from Barangay Oprra, Cebu City, expressed her concern about the impact of Beep Cebu units’ absence on her daily commute.

She said she relies on MPUVs to get to and from work in an architectural firm in Barangay Pardo, and worries that securing rides, especially during rush hours, may prove to be difficult.

Ellen Joyce dela Cerna, a 24-year-old a medical reviewer from Barangay Buhisan, also acknowledged the importance of MPUVs for commuters and worried about the discontinuation of Beep Cebu’s services.

“So if they will not operate, I really feel bad for the commuters, especially for those who depend on them,” she said.

Multiple transportation cooperatives and corporations have expressed their willingness, through the Federation of Cebu Transport Cooperatives (FCTC), to take over Beep Cebu’s abandoned routes.

FCTC president Ellen Maghanoy disclosed on Monday, Oct. 2, that 37 units are now operating on three of Beep Cebu’s original routes since Sunday.

These routes are the Cebu City Hall to IT Park, R. Duterte St. to Sykes, and Guadalupe to Carbon.

The Cebu People’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Cebu People’s Coop), Lahug Apas Transport Cooperative (Latransco), Lapu-Lapu Mandaue Drivers-Operators Transport Cooperative (Lamadco) and Inayawan Transport Services Cooperative (Intrasco) have deployed three units each to serve the Cebu City Hall to IT Park route.

To serve the Duterte St. to Sykes route, the Mabolo Transport Cooperative has deployed five units; Lamadco, three, while El Pardo Transport Cooperative (El Pardo), Cebu People’s Coop and Intrasco have deployed two units each.

As for the Guadalupe to Carbon route, El Pardo, Cebu People’s Coop and Latrasco have deployed three units each, while Banawa Transport Cooperative has deployed two units.

Until further notice

Meanwhile, Elnar also confirmed that they already received an official copy of Beep Cebu’s letter declaring its intention to cease operations due to some operational issues.

He clarified that contrary to earlier reports, the firm did not specify the duration of its units’ absence from local streets, saying the letter states that the suspension of its operations will remain in effect “until further notice.”

Elnar said that they won’t issue a show cause order against the firm, adding that Beep Cebu provided four reasons for its actions, which he deemed acceptable and reasonable.

He said they already forwarded a copy of Beep Cebu’s letter to the LTFRB central office in Quezon City, Metro Manila.

Beep Cebu had attributed its decision to several key factors, including the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict which disrupted the deployment of their 20 gazelle units, which were manufactured in Russia, as spare parts became difficult to secure, which affected maintenance and reliability.

Additionally, stiff competition in the transportation sector, compounded by delays in route modification approvals, hampered the company’s market position and profitability.

The firm also said that ongoing civil works related to the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit system disrupted their ability to provide reliable and punctual services to passengers, raising concerns about revenue generation. 


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