JEEPNEY OP­ER­A­TORS WANT ‘SURGE PRIC­ING,’ TOO

Aside from P2 in­crease, they’re ask­ing for P1 dur­ing rush hour

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE -

By Krixia Sub­ing­sub­ing @krix­i­asINQ There’s a need [to ad­just] the fares dur­ing rush hour be­cause you have to con­sider heavy traf­fic, which also takes its toll on both the driver and the en­gine Vigor Men­doza Lawyer of the pe­ti­tion­ers

They want to charge riders a la Grab.

A group of jeepney op­er­a­tors ply­ing routes in Marik­ina and Que­zon City has asked the Land Trans­porta­tion Fran­chis­ing and Reg­u­la­tory Board (LTFRB) for a P2 fare hike and a P1 “surge pric­ing” ad­just­ment dur­ing peak hours, just like app-us­ing ve­hi­cles.

In a 9-page pe­ti­tion, 22 op­er­a­tors who have al­ready switched to jeepney units com­pli­ant with Euro-4 emis­sion stan­dards said the cur­rent base fare —P8 for the first four kilo­me­ters—was no longer enough to cover their op­er­at­ing ex­penses due to ris­ing fuel prices.

Vigor Men­doza, a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the 22 op­er­a­tors, told the In­quirer on Thurs­day that the pe­ti­tion would cover only those who had al­ready com­plied with the gov­ern­ment’s jeepney mod­ern­iza­tion pro­gram.

Blam­ing TRAIN

Ac­cord­ing to the pe­ti­tion­ers, the high cost of com­pli­ance as well as ex­cise taxes im­posed un­der the Tax Re­form for Ac­cel­er­a­tion and In­clu­sion (TRAIN) law have also sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced their daily net in­come, with some of them now earn­ing as low as just over a hun­dred pe­sos.

They asked the LTFRB to raise the min­i­mum fare to P10 for or­di­nary jeep­neys and P12 for air-con­di­tioned units. They also sought an ad­di­tional P2 for ev­ery suc­ceed­ing kilo­me­ter, up from the cur­rent P1.50.

Peak hours

On top of the base fare in­crease, the op­er­a­tors also asked for an ad­di­tional P1 for the first four kilo­me­ters dur­ing peak hours: from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and be­tween 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Should their pe­ti­tion for surge pric­ing be ap­proved, op­er­a­tors of non-air-con­di­tioned jeep­neys can charge pas­sen­gers dur­ing peak hours a min­i­mum fare of P11. For air-con­di­tioned units, the min­i­mum base fare will be P13.

“There’s a need [to ad­just] the fares dur­ing rush hour be­cause you have to con­sider heavy traf­fic, which also takes its toll on both the driver and the en­gine,” Men­doza said.

He clar­i­fied, how­ever, that the group’s pe­ti­tion was for jeepney op­er­a­tors who had al­ready switched to Euro-4 units.

Must con­sult Neda

In a ra­dio in­ter­view, LTFRB Board Mem­ber Aileen Lizada said the agency would have to con­sult first with the Na­tional Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (Neda) to as­sess the im­pli­ca­tions of al­low­ing surge pric­ing for pub­lic util­ity ve­hi­cles (PUVs), or those not un­der trans­port net­work com­pa­nies (TNCs).

If ap­proved, the pe­ti­tion could en­cour­age sim­i­lar fare hike de­mands from op­er­a­tors of other PUVs like buses and shut­tle ser­vices, Lizada added.

In 2016, an­other trans­port group, Kilu­san sa Pag­babago ng In­dus­triya ng Trans­porta­syon (Kapit), sought an ad­di­tional P1 “rush-hour fee” for op­er­a­tors of brand-new jeep­neys.

In 2017, two big trans­port groups in Cebu City also filed a pe­ti­tion for a P1.50 surge rate hike to cover the time and dis­tance trav­eled dur­ing heavy traf­fic.

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