No fare hike sans approval from LTFRB

By: Morexette B. Erram January 10,2018 - 10:18 PM

THE Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTRFB – 7) announced that fare hikes for public utility vehicles (PUVs) are not yet to take effect this month even if higher excise tax is slapped on fuel products.

LTFRB – 7 regional director Ahmed Cuizon told reporters that they are yet to receive formal petitions for a fare hike from transport groups in Cebu, such those from the Cebu Integrated Transport Service Cooperative (Citrasco), following the passage of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

“Well, as of now, I have yet to receive new petitions from transport groups, those from PUJs (public utility jeepneys), taxis, and companies such as Grab and Uber. As soon as the petition comes in, it is our office’s obligation to do a public hearing about it not only with the members of the transport groups but also the affected passengers,” said Cuizon.

He added that in order for PUV drivers to collect an increased rate of fares from passengers, due process is required thus, the need to conduct a public hearing.

“Imposing a fare increase is not a unilateral decision. In fact, there is no decision coming yet from the LTFRB,” Cuizon emphasized.

On January 4, Citrasco announced that they are eyeing to impose a P6 increase in jeepney fare on top of the current minimum rate of P6.50. This means that passengers are expected to pay a minimum fare of P12.50.

In an earlier interview, Citrasco chairperson Ryan Yu, said they will only file the petition once the increase in the prices of fuel products will take effect within the month.

Under the Train law, tax on regular unleaded and premium gasoline will be raised to P7 per liter in 2018, P9 per liter in 2019, and P10 per liter in 2020. Diesel and bunker fuel shall be taxed P2.50 per liter this year, P4.50 in 2019, and P6 in 2020.

The tax on liquified petroleum gas (LPG) shall be increased by P1 every year from 2018 to 2020.

In the meantime, Cuizon assured passengers that they will be closely watching PUVs in the province to prevent them from asking higher fare rates in the absence of a final decision from their office.

“We have groups going around the terminals just to make sure and remind drivers about it,” added Cuizon.

Meanwhile, he revealed that the national office of the LTFRB is now planning to provide a fuel subsidy for jeepney drivers to cushion the impact of oil price hikes.

“It could be a similar arrangement with that of the PUJ drivers with DOE (Department of Energy) before. So far, there are no instructions yet from the head office but I’m sure things are being prepared. As soon as we have the guidelines and directives, we will implement it here,” Cuizon said.

Cuizon was referring to DOE’s Pantawid Pasada Program which was launched in 2011, granting jeepney drivers a subsidy of P1,050 per month and P150 per month for tricycle drivers.

Beneficiaries are given Pantawid Pasada Cards in order to avail of the subsidy.

Other goods to be taxed under the Train law are cars, tobacco, coal, oil products, cosmetic procedures and sweetened beverages. /with Inquirer.net

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