BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved a resolution soliciting the opinion of the Cordillera office of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA-CAR), the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Baguio-Benguet Chapter (PCCI-BCC) and the different colleges and universities in the city on the taxi and jeepney fare increase being undertaken by the public utility vehicles in Baguio and Benguet.
The resolution stated there is an urgent need to request the opinion of other national government agencies and private sectors on the issues within their expertise considering that their opinions can be a vital piece for consideration by the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in resolving the matter of fare increase that should prevail in Baguio and Benguet.
LTFRB Memorandum Circular No. 2017-26 caused a sudden change in the normal fare paid by regular passengers of taxis playing the Baguio and Benguet routes wherein the flag down rate remained at P35 but passengers are now being charged P13.50 per kilometer travelled and additional P2 per minute of travel time compared to the previous rate of P35 flag down rate, P2 for every 200 meters travelled and additional P2 for one minute and thirty seconds waiting time.
Earlier, the City Council approved Resolution No. 058, series of 2018 and Resolution No. 114, series of 2018 unanimously requesting the suspension of LTFRB Memorandum Circular No. 2017-26 and for LTFRB to reconsider its decision to increase the taxi fare rate considering the generated strong opposition from the different sectors, especially the students, senior citizens, night shift workers, daily wage earners and other concerned sectors of the city.
Previously, the Alliance of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Associations in Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) also filed their petition at the LTFRB demanding for a P14 minimum fare for the first four kilometres and additional P2 for every kilometer travelled compared to the present jeepney fare rate which is P8.50 for the first four kilometres and additional P1.40 for every kilometer travelled.
The local legislative body also requested the LTFRB officials to appear during its regular session on Monday, June 4, 2018 to shed light on the basis in approving the taxi fare hike without considering the prevailing minimum wage in the city and other related factors that greatly resulted to the skyrocketing increase in taxi fare charged to passengers for a certain distance travelled.
Further, the approved resolutions also requested the LTFRB to conduct their public hearings on the proposed jeepney fare hike in the city so that there will be greater participation from the affected sectors for them to air their issues and concerns on the proposed excessive and exorbitant fare increase.
Residents raised an uproar over the alleged excessive and exorbitant taxi fare hike after the meters of over 3,000 taxis in Baguio and Benguet were calibrated to reflect the approved increase considering that the previous fare that they had been paying had almost doubled following the implementation of the new fare rate, thus, the need for the LTFRB to look into its decision so that the necessary adjustments could be done and avert the worsening effect of the taxi fare hike to the living condition of the people.
By Dexter A. See