BAGUIO CITY – The Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Central Office has yet to decide on the proposed P0.50 and P5 rollback on the minimum jeepney fare and taxi flag down rate in the Summer Capital and the different parts of the Cordillera after an unprecedented decline in oil prices over the past several months.
During a recent public hearing organized by the LTFRB-CAR here to gather the sentiments of concerned sectors on the proposed fare rollback, operators and drivers of public utility jeepneys and taxis were united in calling for a status quo in the existing P8.50 minimum fare for jeepneys and P35 flag down rate for taxis operating in the Cordillera to await further developments in the next several weeks of the oil prices will continue to go down.
Perfecto Itliong, Jr., regional coordinator of the Cordillera office of the Public Transport Affairs Office (PTAO), said the proposed rollback in jeepney and taxi fares is still premature since the oil prices in the world market are still fragile which would put the public transport in jeopardy once oil prices start to increase in the next few weeks.
He explained the P8.50 minimum fare in the Cordillera is P0.50 higher than the minimum jeepney fare in the lowlands because of the different terrain in the region and the high prices of spare parts among others.
“We are just starting to recover from our previous losses when the minimum jeepney fare in the region was not immediately increased following the series of oil price increases several years ago,” Itliong said.
Earlier, the LTFRB approved a P0.50 reduction in the prevailing minimum jeepney fare in Metro Manila and Cebu as the agency’s Yuletide gift to the people following the successive oil price rollbacks by big and small oil industry players since late November last year.
On the part of taxi drivers, Itliong claimed they are also praying for a status quo for at least two months in order to observe the latest developments in the world market although they will go for a P5 rollback in the existing flag down rate.
Lawyer Brenda Poklay, legal counsel of the Cordillera office of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC-CAR), said they were given at least 45 days by the LTFRB Central Office to conduct appropriate public consultations on the proposed minimum fare rollback and for them to complete their findings and recommendations.
“We will not wait for the lapse of the 45 days before we will submit our recommendations. We will submit it before the end of this month so that the minimum fare rollback could be implemented immediately depending on the evaluation of our central office,” Poklay stressed.
According to her, the consensus among the transport sector and the general public during their recent consultation was for at least a P0.50 rollback in the existing minimum jeepney fare and P5 rollback in the current falgdown rate of taxis.
Poklay added consultations will also be done separately in the coming weeks for the proposed rollback in the minimum fare being charged by public utility buses and garage vans from their passengers while the oil prices continue to go down.
Currently, diesel prices in the city range from P28 to P30 per liter while gasoline prices are pegged at P40 to P23 per liter.