By Denise A. Valdez
THE LAND Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said another fare hike for public utility jeepneys (PUJ) is still possible as hearings on the petition of five transport groups for a P2 increase continue.
In a message to BusinessWorld on Monday, the office of LTFRB Chairman Martin B. Delgra III said the P1 uptick on jeepney fares implemented last week is only a “provisional increase,” and the main petition for a fare hike will still undergo hearing.
It added that a possible fare hike would depend on the conclusion of the hearing that has yet to be scheduled.
On Friday, the LTFRB released a new jeepney fare matrix increasing the minimum fare for the first four kilometers in the National Capital Region and Regions 3 (Central Luzon) and 4 (Calabarzon) from P8 to P9.
In the written order, LTFRB said the partial granting of the fare hike is in consideration of the continuing rise in inflation and the increasing costs of fuel.
The order noted that inflation in May reached 4.5%, but did not yet factor in the June inflation, which rose to 5.2%, higher than the estimates of markets and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Mr. Delgra said inflation is one of the many factors LTFRB considers in making decisions on fare hike.
“This is why a proper en banc hearing is done so all factors are covered, in fact, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) will be consulted as well on this matter,” he said.
Five jeepney groups filed a petition for a P2 fare hike to the LTFRB due to the rising prices of fuel.
These are Pangkalahatang Sanggunian Manila & Suburb Drivers Association Nationwide, Inc. (PASANG-MASDA), Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEJODAP), Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization (ACTO), Land Transportation Organization of the Philippines (LTOP) and Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (ALTODAP).
In an LTFRB hearing in May, the petitioners cited that the price of diesel has gone up by almost P10 since January after the passage of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
Roberto “Ka Obet” Martin of PASANG-MASDA said jeepney drivers consume around 15 to 20 liters of fuel daily for short distance trips. This means a jeepney driver spends up to P900 for fuel every day, using a base price of P45 for diesel.