CEBU -- Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) regional offices will conduct on January 16 simultaneous public hearings on the petition to reduce taxi and passenger bus fares.
This, as the reduced minimum fare of P7 for public utility jeepneys (PUJs) becomes effective today, January 13, in Cebu and the rest of Central Visayas.
The LTFRB is evaluating a petition to reduce the passenger bus fare to P1.80 per succeeding kilometer from P2. The petition was filed by Representative Manuel Iway (Negros Oriental, first district).
In a press conference, LTFRB Chairman Winston Gines said that there is a petition to reduce the taxi flag-down rate to P30 from P40, and the charge per succeeding 300 meters to P2.50 from P3.50.
In Cebu, Governor Hilario Davide III signed a memorandum of agreement with bus operators to reduce the minimum fare to P5 from P6 for the first five kilometers and to P1 from P1.20 the charge per succeeding kilometer.
Gines said the agreement must be submitted to the LTFRB for approval.
He said that he has not yet received a copy of the agreement. “Sa media lang pala ‘yang memorandum na ‘yan (The memorandum is known only to the media for now),” he said.
Petitions to reduce PUJ, bus and taxi fares were filed as prices of petroleum products continue to drop.
According to the Department of Energy website the prices of diesel as of December 14, 2014 ranged from P29.20 to P32.55 per liter; P37.85 to P43.95 for gasoline; and P25.04 to P28.30 for auto LPG.
Oil companies slashed pump prices last Decembe 20 by more than P1 per liter for diesel, petroleum and kerosene. Last January 5, prices of petroleum products were reduced by 95 cents per liter.
The taxi flag-down rate was raised to P40 from P30 in January 2011 when diesel was priced at more than P45 per liter; gasoline for more than P54; and autogas for more than P30 per liter.
Gines said that the P7 minimum fare was based on the petition of former Cebu City councilor Augustos Pe Jr. who stated that the jeepney fare must be reduced by P0.50 because diesel was sold at P37 per liter.
But Teresa Chan, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Robert Go, president of the Philippine Retailers Association, said the minimum PUJ fare must be reduced to P5 or P6 for the first five kilometers because diesel was sold at P27.25 per liter as of Monday, January 12.
Gines stressed that PUJ drivers and operators must follow the law in giving 20 percent discounts to senior citizens, students and disabled persons. Those who refuse to give discounts will be penalized.
LTFRB Executive Director Roberto Cabrera said that jeepney drivers who will violate the law on discounts will be fined under Joint Administrative Order 2014-001. (EOB/Sun.Star Cebu)