The Passenger Forum (TPF) on Monday said “majority” of commuters in the Greater Metro Manila Area are “not in favor” of another fare increase in public utility jeepneys (PUJs).
Citing an “informal online survey” that the transport advocacy group conducted, TPF Convener Primo Morillo said 71 percent of the respondents are against the fare hike.
“There is no doubt that regular commuters simply do not have the budget space to allow any fare hikes. This confirms what we have been asserting that the government should look for other solutions, such as continuous and effective fuel subsidy for PUJs rather than simply giving the go signal for a fare increase,” he said.
Morillo said the group surveyed 100 respondents in Metro Manila, most of them residing in Quezon City and Manila. 29 percent of the respondents said they use jeepneys between 10 to 14 times per week, while another 20 percent rely on jeepneys more than 14 times a week.
The survey also found out that if a fare increase is inevitable, 72 percent of the respondents said that they prefer that the government limit it to just one peso or less.
The LTFRB is currently in the process of hearing the petitions for a P5 increase in the flag-down rate and another P1 as a provisional hike. Another petition seeks to increase the minimum fare by P2.
The regulatory body is seeking the assistance of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) in determining the economic impact of an upward adjustment to jeepney fares.
Morillo said instead of increasing fares, the government should just explore beefing up its fuel subsidy program.
He asserted that the LTFRB should publicly release the liquidation of the P3-billion fuel subsidy that was disbursed recently.
“As the main rationale for the fuel subsidies is to cushion the effects of oil price hikes to the transport sector, it should also eliminate, or at least minimize, the need for fare hikes. We just cannot understand how LTFRB Chief [Teofilo] Guadiz’ media statement after distributing P3 billion is to announce that they will soon approve a fare hike. In fact, they should explain first how the P3 billion was spent. Malaking pera ang tatlong bilyong piso. Dapat ipaliwanag muna ito ng LTFRB,” Morillo stressed.