Senate OKs bill on 20% student fare discount

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By Camille A. Aguinaldo, Reporter

THE Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading the bill institutionalizing the 20% student fare discount in public transportation.

Senate Bill No. 1597 or the proposed Student Fare Discount Act was approved with 18 affirmative votes, no negative vote, and no abstention. Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara is the principal author of the bill while all senators manifested last week to be made co-authors.

If signed into law, all Filipino students, from elementary to colleges and those enrolled in technical-vocational schools, will be entitled to a 20% discount in buses, jeepneys, tricycles, transport network vehicle services (TNVS), MRT, LRT, airlines, and passenger ships.

“This will be more significant to the beneficiaries belonging to the indigent and underprivileged sector that rely public transport services,” Mr. Angara said in a statement.

The bill seeks to institutionalize the student fare discounts being enforced by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) even during weekends and holidays.

However, it does not cover students taking up post-graduate studies, such as medicine, law, short-term courses, as well as masteral and doctoral degrees.

In airfare discounts, the proposed measure seeks discounts only on domestic travel upon the presentation of a duly-issued school ID or the present validated enrollment forms.

For travels abroad for purposes of education, training and competition, the travel tax will be waived for students, provided they show proof of documentation supporting their claims.

Penalties with a fine ranging from P5,000 to P200,000 will be imposed on public transportation utilities that refuse to grant the fare discount.