Bus fares hike likely — LTFRB

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said a fare increase in bus fares is likely due to the recent fuel price spikes that affected the daily plight of bus drivers and operators.

LTFRB chairperson Cheloy Garafil, in an interview on Thursday, said the agency will balance the welfare of all stakeholders, including operators, drivers, and commuters, with the guidance of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), 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 there is a need for an increase but how much, of course, we will have to see what the NEDA will say,” LTFRB chairperson Cheloy Garafil told reporters. The first hearing was conducted last 28 July.

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

The LTFRB chief said increasing bus fares will help operators who have been affected by the previous series of fuel price increases.

“We will balance it out… because 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 this will have an impact on passengers. That is why we are very ,very careful in crafting a resolution for this case,” Garafil said.

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

The LTFRB is currently deliberating 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 groups requested a P20 minimum fare for the first five kilometers in the air-conditioned buses from P13, and a charge of P3.40 per kilometer beyond five kilometers. They also sought an increase in the minimum fare in the ordinary buses from P11 to P15, with a P2.70 charge per kilometer.

The petitioners requested P15 minimum fare on the ordinary provincial buses with a charge of P2 per kilometer. In air-conditioned PUB, the charge is 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.

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