THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulator Board was asked to add “a sunset” provision after it increased by P1 the jeepney fare in the National Capital Region and three other regions.
On Saturday, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said the LTFRB should specifically state that the P1 increase is only valid until the end of the year, with the option to extend it for another 3 to 6 months depending on the price of fuel.
“Ipinapanukala ko ito dahil alam naman natin na mas madaling magtaas ng singil sa pamasahe kaysa magbaba nito,” he said. [I am calling for this because we all know that it’s easier to increase fares than decrease it.]
The senator also called on the finance and transportation departments to study the Pantawid Pasada Program to determine if the P5,000 fuel voucher for drivers is enough to alleviate the effects of increasing oil prices.
The LTFRB on Friday approved the increase to P9 from the previous P8 jeepney fare in National Capital Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Mimaropa.
Earlier, some transport groups were asking for a P10 minimum fare, or an additional P2, while while others wanted a P5-per-liter discount on oil or exemption from value-added tax.
Meanwhile, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles reminded the LTFRB to be fair in implementing fines on all forms of public transport.
Nograles claimed that Grab is again allegedly trying to usurp the power of the LTFRB on fare standards after coming out with a new scheme which puts their booking fee at P100 per trip.
Nograles said LTFRB’s mandate to regulate and impose fare standards to protect the riding public from abuse should extend to all forms of public conveyances such as jeepneys, buses and Transport Network Companies such as Grab Philippines.
“LTFRB threatens drivers who overcharge by one peso, yet treat with kid gloves the multi-billion company that has been caught lying many times,” Nograles said.
Nograles said that under Joint Administrative Order no. 2014-01, TNCs like Grab Philippines can be charged the same way as jeepneys where each violation constitute one offense.
“The law should apply to all. Our hapless jeepney drivers should not be used as punching bags just to show our regulators are dutifully enforcing our laws. Barya-barya lang ang kinikita ng ating mga jeepney drivers tapos napag-iinitan pa sila samantalang ang Grab ay kumikita ng P20 million bawat araw na laway lang ang puhunan,” Nograles said.
If the P2.00 per minute illegal charges made by Grab has 67 million instances, then Grab is liable for P335 billion in fines, which the LTFRB has yet to collect, Nograles said.
He also said he received reports from consumers that Grab has already began charging P100.00 booking fee without the authority of the LTFRB which had set the booking fee for TNCs at P40 per trip.
This P100 booking fee is already reflected on the fare breakdown posted by Grab, which also deducts the same amount purportedly as promotional discount, he said.
“To mask this unauthorized charge, Grab is giving P100.00 discounts. Clever as it may be, Grab is still liable for prematurely charging its consumers,” Nograles said.