?Bus operators seek fare increase amid higher oil prices

MANILA City and provincial bus operators on Tuesday filed a petition seeking a fare increase before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to ease the impact of higher petroleum prices due to the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.?

Based on their petition, bus operators in Metro Manila proposed that the rate for the ordinary bus be raised to PHP13.30 from the current PHP10 for the first 5 km., and PHP2.45 from PHP1.85 for every succeeding kilometer.?

They are likewise asking that the fare for airconditioned buses be increased to PHP15.95 from PHP12 for the first 5 km., and PHP2.95 from PHP2.20 for every succeeding kilometer.?

Provincial bus operators, meanwhile, are seeking for an increase on the rate of ordinary buses to PHP11.95 from PHP9 for the first 5 km., and PHP1.85 from PHP1.40 for every succeeding kilometer.

?Proposed fares for airconditioned buses will be as follows: ?Regular aircon bus: PHP2.15/km. from PHP1.60/km.? Deluxe aircon bus: PHP2.25/km. from PHP1.70/km.?Super deluxe aircon bus: PHP2.40/km. from PHP1.80/km.?Luxury aircon bus: PHP3/km. from PHP 2.25/km.?

The petitioners also cited higher operating costs, such as increase in the prices of local and imported spare parts; high cost of purchasing buses that are compliant with Euro 4 and 5 emission standards with required accessories (CCTV cameras, dash cameras, GPS system, etc.), increase in toll fees, and the minimum wage increase in Metro Manila for the granting of the fare adjustment.

?Foregoing increases in operational costs attendant to the business of public mass transportation have effectively negated the previous fare adjustments granted and have rendered subject business non-viable, thus, threatening the very survival of petition-members. It is therefore imperative of this Honorable Board to expeditiously and appropriately address the matter if only to preempt the collapse of the public transportation industry, read the petition.?

If only to preempt the possibility of an industry-wide collapse of operations, it is imperative that, pending resolution of the main petition, a provisional fare increase should be granted, it further stated.

?The fare hike petition was filed by the Southern Luzon Bus Operators Association (SOLUBOA), Nagkakaisang Samahan ng Nangangasiwa ng Panlalawigang Bus sa Pilipinas, and Samahang Transport Operators ng Pilipinas, Inc. (STOP).?

Under the TRAIN law, an initial excise tax of PHP2.50 per liter shall be imposed on diesel this year, which will eventually increase to PHP6 by 2020.

An excise tax of PHP7 will be imposed on gasoline in 2018, gradually increasing to PHP10 in 2020.

Source: Philippine News Agency