Move surprises passengers

By: Joey A. Gabieta

TACLOBAN CITY-Passengers using public utility vans (PUVs) are to shell out an additional P2 per kilometer from their point of origin to their destination starting this week.
This after the regional office of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB-8) agreed on the petition of PUV owners to restore back the P2 per kms which was supposed to be imposed in 2007.
LTFRB Regional Director Gualberto Gualberto, thus said, that it is not correct to say that there will be an increase of fare rate for PUVs plying different routes across the region.
“It is not a fare rate increase but just to restore back the P2 per kms rate in pursuant to Resolution 2007-007, meaning it was intended for 2007. But it was not fully enforced because sometimes in 2009, there was a petition from transport owners not to implement but just to decrease it to just P1.40,” he said.
But on March 14, 2019, the same transport groups sought for the restoration of the P2 per kms rate citing increases on gasoline and spare parts.
The LTFRB regional director said that it was just right to restore back the P2 per kilometer rate as it is only Eastern Visayas region which does not follow it.
“We understand the grievances of the transport operators because of the series of oil price hike and high cost of spare parts,” Gualberto said.
He also said that their office has followed the rules on this matter by conducting public hearings attended by transport operators and riding public with the same resolution publicized in a local regional newspaper in compliance of the LTFRB rules.
“So, there was no such thing as increase but just restoration of the P2 per kms as approved under Resolution Num. 2007-007,” Gualberto said.
Thus, he said, it was just proper to impose the P2 per kms fare rate.
The additional P2 per kms fare rate took effect this week, surprising some passengers.
Among them was Armenia Cabanatan who uses a PUV when she reports for work in Tacloban City from her hometown in Dulag, Leyte.
With the new fare rate, she would not be paying P77 from the previous P45, a huge increase for an ordinary wage earner like her.
“I usually uses a van because its faster compare to using a bus. But with that huge increase, I will be force to take a bus. Otherwise, a big portion of my monthly pay will just be consumed by my daily fare if I will continue to take a van,” she said.
Gualberto stressed that the new fare rate will only involve PUVs and not buses or jeepneys, adding that a fare matrix must be placed prominently inside the van showing the fare rate.
Otherwise, he said, the operators and the drivers would not be allowed to impose the P2 per kms fare rate.
The mandatory discounts for senior citizens, students, and persons with disabilities should be strictly followed by the operators and drivers, the LTFRB-8 says.