Transport group pushes fare hike

THE Cebu Integrated Transport Cooperative (CITRASCO) is set to submit its P5.50 fare hike proposal for public utility jeepneys before the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) today.

If approved, the minimum fare for jeepneys will increase from P6.50 to P12.

If submitted, the petition will be first to be filed before the LTFRB this year.

Ryan Benjamin Yu, CITRASCO president, cited increasing excise taxes on fuel and the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law as basis for the fare hike proposal.

Though they welcome any petition on fare increases, LTFRB 7 Director Ahmed Cuizon said they cannot implement fare hikes starting this month until March due to orders from their national office.

Yu told SunStar Cebu yesterday they are seeking a fare increase as their drivers and operators have been “suffering” due to the excise tax on fuel.

“The effect of the excise tax on fuels is that everything will increase. So the purchasing power of drivers will be affected. And it’s not just the drivers who will be affected, but also the operators as well,” Yu said.

Yu explained that the proposed fare hike would not only cushion drivers and operators from the effects of the fuel excise tax but to allow them to enjoy an increase in take home earnings.

But Yu questioned the announcement of the LTFRB to not resolve any proposed fare hikes until March.

LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada announced earlier that no fare hikes will be implemented starting this month until March due to the increase in fuel prices attributed to the TRAIN law.

Yu said the move is “unfair” to the transport sector as LTFRB should immediately address their concerns following the filing of their petition for fare hike.

But Cuizon told SunStar Cebu that the LTFRB will still hear the petitions of concerned transport groups.

“Even if a new fare hike petition is submitted tomorrow, I’m sure it will not be resolved by March,” Cuizon said.

Cuizon added that the petition will still undergo publication and public hearing before it could be submitted for resolution before the LTFRB Central Office in Manila. (JKV)
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