LTRFB: ‘We recognize need’ for bus fare hike

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has signified that a bus fare increase is likely due to the recent fuel price spikes that have affected the public transport industry.

In an interview on Thursday, LTFRB chairperson Cheloy Garafil said the agency will balance the welfare of all stakeholders, including bus operators, drivers and commuters, in deciding on the issue, along with the guidance of the National Economic Development Authority which is expected to submit its study next week.

“The last bus fare increase was in 2018 and the diesel then was just P44, so we recognize that there is a need for an increase. But how much, we will have to see what the NEDA will say,” said Garafil.

“We need the position of the NEDA because the LTFRB doesn’t want to add to inflation. Any increase, although minimal, still has an effect, that’s why we need the NEDA’s guidance on this,” she explained.

The LTRFB chief said any possible fare increase also needs to be balanced with the welfare of consumers.

“We cannot just side with one party, we have to balance. While we recognize that oil prices have increased since the last fare hike for buses, we also recognize that this will have an impact on passengers. That is why we are very careful in crafting a resolution to this case.”

“Our primary consideration is to get a balance on how to help bus operators but, at the same time, it won’t be too burdensome for passengers,” Garafil added.

The LTFRB is currently deliberating on the joint petition by the Southern Luzon Bus Operators Association, Nagkaisang Samahan ng Nangangasiwa ng Panglalawigang Bus sa Pilipinas and Samahang Transport Operators ng Pilipinas Inc. The first hearing on the groups’ petition was conducted last 28 July.

The groups are requesting a P20 minimum fare for air-conditioned buses for the first five kilometers, up from P13, and a charge of P3.40 per kilometer beyond five kilometers. They also want an increase in the minimum fare for ordinary buses from P11 to P15, with a P2.70 charge per kilometer.

For ordinary provincial buses, the petitioners are requesting a minimum fare of P15 with a charge of P2 per kilometer. For air-conditioned units, the charge should be P2.50 per kilometer for regular air- conditioned buses, P2.60 per kilometer for De Luxe, P2.70 per kilometer for Super De Luxe and P3.60 per kilometer for Luxury, they said.


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