Classes in a number of elementary and secondary schools have opened this week, so traffic is beginning to be at bit more unbearable than it already is. Expect it to worsen in the coming weeks once classes resume in different colleges (unless you’re studying in one of those colleges who have recently made a shift in their academic calendar that classes would now begin in July or August…but that’s another story)
But there’s something else for the metropolitan commuter to brace for that is certain to make impact on the wallet: a fare hike.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have recently approved a jeepney fare hike for Metro Manila, as well as the regions of Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Mimaropa, increasing the minimum fare from the present PHP 8 to 8.50 for the first four kilometers and an additional PHP 1.50 for every succeeding kilometer. This increase will become effective on June 14.
The increase was given on the basis of the rising prices in fuel which jeepney drivers and operators contend cannot be covered by their earnings while taking into account the welfare of the commuters who mostly come from the middle and lower class sectors.
To put things in perspective, here is an infographic courtesy of a user over at infogram which shows the history of the jeepney fare from 1957 up to last year vis-a-vis oil prices from 1989 to 2012. Interestingly, the new rate will be the same as the original jeepney fare that was approved in 2009 before it was eventually decreased by PHP 0.50.
However, the LTFRB mandated that only jeepneys that have posted updated fare matrix tables will be able to charge the new fares. In addition, children below three feet in height shall be accommodated for free as per the mandate. That does not even take into consideration the 20% discount long being honored for students and senior citizens who show their respective IDs. (students though can only avail the discount during school days)
As such matters go, there has been mixed to negative reaction on this news. Some jeepney drivers and operators were disappointed with the “measly” increase as it would not be enough to meet the expenses they pay for fuel and would have wanted a PHP 10 fare instead. Given also the nature of this decision, some jeepney operators and drivers from other regions not covered by the fare hike protested as they felt they were left out. Other groups contend that the increase was unnecessary and this move will only burden consumers more as it may (or will) lead to increase in prices of commodities.
But unless the LTFRB makes some changes before June 14, the best commuters can do is to face the inevitable when that day comes. As commuters, we should be well aware of our rights especially against abusive or cheating jeepneys. As noted earlier, the jeepney should have the updated fare matrix table on that day and after. If possible, study the table carefully and make sure you are paying your fare accordingly. Do not let yourself be cheated by some unscrupulous drivers and conductors and report them to LTFRB.
Contact information for the LTFRB can be found at their website: www.ltfrb.gov.ph
With additional reports from ABS-CBN-ANC/Yahoo Philippines