THE LAND TRANSPORTATION Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Thursday approved fare increases for public utility vehicles (PUV), prompting the country’s biggest labor group to press for a wage hike for Metro Manila’s private sector workers at a time of successive multiyear-high monthly inflation rates.
In its decision, the LTFRB adjusted the minimum jeepney fare in the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila), Central Luzon and southern Luzon to P10 from the current P9, which had incorporated a P1 provisional increase implemented in July.
In a separate decision, the regulator also approved provisional increases for buses plying Metro Manila roads to P11 from P10 for ordinary trips and to P13 from P12 for air-conditioned trips.
For provincial buses, the base rate for ordinary trips stays at P9 for the first five kilometers (km), although the addition for every succeeding kilometer increases to P1.55 from P1.40 previously.
For air-conditioned provincial buses, the adjusted rates are P1.75/km from P1.60/km for regular buses, P1.85/km from P1.70/km for deluxe buses, P1.95/km from P1.80/km for super deluxe buses, and P2.40/km from P2.25/km for luxury action buses.
The new fares take effect early next month.
The LTFRB said it approved the fare hikes amid the peso’s weakness and rising oil prices.
The regulator added that it took into consideration the opinion of the National Economic and Development Authority, which in an Oct. 2 report cautioned that “any increase in the fare of PUVs will certainly… raise the current inflation rate in the country” that has lately been clocking multi-year peaks to average five percent last semester against the central bank’s 2-4% target range for 2018.
At the same time, “[a]ny fare increase will translate to diminish that of the purchasing power of workers, especially the working population who principally rely on public transportation.”
In a statement on Thursday, Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines spokesman Alan A. Tanjusay said “[t]here is now a very urgent need for the Metro Manila wage board” which will meet on Oct. 22 “to grant a substantial wage increase for workers in the NCR…” — Denise A. Valdez with G. M. Cortez