Authorities on Tuesday warned that stricter penalties will be meted against drivers of public utility vehicles who will not grant fare discounts to students, senior citizens and persons with disability.
Members of the Interagency Council for Traffic, in close coordination with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, will conduct simultaneous operations today (June 13) to ensure the strict implementation of the fare discount policy.
I-ACT chief Thomas Orbos said 20 percent fare discount must be given to senior citizens, PWDs, and student passengers, as it is prescribed by the law provided that they present identification cards such as Senior Citizen, PWD, and school ID.
Based on Republic Act 9442 or the Amended Magna Carta for PWD and RA 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act, PWDs and senior citizens are both entitled to 20 percent discount for land, air, and sea transportation, among others.
On the other hand, LTFRB Memorandum Circular 2011-004 grants students 20 percent fare discount for land transport such as jeeps, buses, UV Express vans, taxis, and transport network vehicle services (TNVS).
Memorandum Circular 2017-024, meanwhile, allows students to avail of the said discount even during weekdays, holidays, and school breaks.
“I appeal to our drivers to honor the all-year-round 20 percent discount for students, PWDs, and senior citizens.” Orbos said.
“Refusing to grant such discount would cause more trouble because violators will be subjected to stricter penalties depending on the number of times the offense was committed,” he added.
Drivers refusing to give 20 percent discount will have to pay P5,000 fine for first offense; P10,000 fine with impoundment of the unit within 30 days for the second offense, and P15,000 with cancellation of the franchise for the third offense.
Authorities encouraged senior citizens, PWD, and students to report and file formal complaints against abusive drivers at the LTFRB which handles such offense.
Just recently, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara underscored the need for Congress to pass a legislation that would institutionalize the grant of 20-percent fare discount to students to ensure they will continue to enjoy reduced transportation expenses in the future.
“If we want to provide long-term assistance to our students, we need to come up with a law to institutionalize the regulatory policy which can always be subject to change,” Angara said.
Angara issued the statement after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) issued a public reminder about the entitlement of students to fare discounts even during weekends and holidays, as well as the corresponding penalties for operators and drivers of public utility vehicles who violate such regulation.
In October last year, LTRFB issued a memorandum circular stating that “students can avail of the 20-percent discount from Monday to Sunday, including summer breaks, legal and special holidays.”
According to Angara, there is always a possibility that the student fare discount may not be enforced effectively since it is just based on a circular issued by the LTFRB.
He reiterated his call for his colleagues in the Senate to fast-track the approval of his bill that expands and institutionalizes the 20-percent transport fare discount given to students.
As vice chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Angara filed Senate Bill 945 that covers not only land transport but also MRT, LRT, airplanes, and passenger ships all year round.