Drivers group eyes P12 minimum fare

A GROUP of drivers and operators in Lapu-Lapu City wants to double the minimum fare to help them address any increase in prices of fuel due to the new tax reform law and to help operators prepare for the jeepney modernization program.

The Basak Lapu-Lapu City Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association (Balacjoda) filed a petition for a P12 minimum fare—almost double the current minimum of P6.50—saying the new Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) law has led to an increase in fuel prices.

The petition was filed last Jan. 19 by Balacjoda President Alexander Dometita before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). This is the second time in less than one year that Balacjoda filed a petition for a fare increase.

In April 2017, Balacjoda filed a petition to increase fares by P1.50 but it was not granted by the LTFRB.

The group said the prices of fuel products have steadily increased since May 2017, affecting the income of the drivers as the prices for their daily needs have also increased.

Though some of their family members are employed, the group said their salary can barely augment their income because the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) only gave a P13 increase in the minimum wage last year, setting the minimum wage in the region at P363 a day.

Romeo Armamento, the vice president of the National Confederation of Transportworkers Union (NCTU) Visayas, said the fare increase is also part of the operators’ preparations for the jeepney modernization program.

Balacjoda is under NCTU.

“We will invite the petitioners and other sectors to express their arguments for or against the petition, collate all the data and submit it for resolution to our central office,” LFRB Region 7 Director Ahmed Cuizon said.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza is also expecting the tricycle drivers to ask for an increase and said she is willing to meet them to discuss it. (EOB, FMG)

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