By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter
THE LAND Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is set to release by the second quarter a fare matrix for public utility jeepneys (PUJ) that will allow drivers to raise or reduce fares according to the price of fuel.
In a media briefing on Tuesday, LTFRB Chairman Martin B. Delgra III said the agency is now consulting transport groups as part of crafting a formula on jeepney fare increases.
“Although we have set a target for first quarter this year, hinihimay pa rin ng [it’s still being fleshed out by the] technical working group. But this time, with the participation…ng mga [of] transport groups. Nag-meet sila [They met] last week. Hopefully we’ll be able to get data from (them),” he said.
“Hopefully we’ll still be able to meet the target. Kung ano man, baka lalagpas lang nang konti [If not, maybe only a little late],” he added.
The formula for fare increases developed by the technical working group considers the change in pump price of fuel multiplied by the operating cost of PUJ drivers over the average income of Filipino workers.
Mr. Delgra said the team is formed by representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Finance and the National Economic and Development Authority.
“It’s about having to balance the interests between the financial viability for the transport groups and in this case, the PUJ sector, as against the transport cost doon sa mga mananakay [on the part of commuters],” he said.
The LTFRB chief said the agency is waiting for transport group Pangkalahatang Sanggunian Manila & Suburb Drivers Association Nationwide, Inc. (PASANG-MASDA) to submit data on operating expenses so the LTFRB may plug it to the formula and evaluate its impact to riders.
“We’re in the process of consulting the transport groups, so that maintindihan natin ‘yung [so we would understand the] financial viability on their part. That’s why we’re waiting for data from them,” Mr. Delgra said.
The minimum jeepney fare in Metro Manila and in central and southern Luzon is currently P9, after the LTFRB implemented a P-1 provisional rollback in December due to the lowering price of fuel.
Last year, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said he wants jeepney fare adjustments to be based on a predetermined matrix for it to roll out faster. He said this would avoid implementing fare increases or decreases in line with changes in world oil prices.