Seven out of ten commuters in the National Capital Region are against a fare increase for public utility jeepneys (PUJs) despite escalating fuel prices, a survey by an advocacy group showed.
Primo Morillo, The Passenger Forum convener, said Friday their informal online survey of 100 respondents showed most commuters in Metro Manila are not in favor of a PUJ fare hike.
Transport groups recently appealed to the government to grant a one-peso provisional fare increase before the year ends and a permanent hike of P2 to P5 to the current base fare of P11 for the first 4 kilometers.
TPF is a commuter network and mobility advocacy group campaigning for the protection of passenger rights and welfare.
Based on the TPF survey conducted from Sept. 16 to Sept. 17, 71 percent of the respondents are against a jeepney fare increase.
“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,” Morillo said.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) must also publicly release the liquidation of the P3-billion fuel subsidy that was disbursed recently, he added.
“As the main rationale for the fuel subsidies is to cushion the effects of oil price hikes on the transport sector, it should also eliminate, or at least minimize, the need for fare hikes,” Morillo said.
“We just cannot understand how LTFRB chief Teofilo Guadiz III’s 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,” he said.
Most of the TPF survey’s 100 respondents reside in Quezon City (20 percent), Manila (14 percent) and Caloocan (9 percent).
At least 29 percent of the respondents patronize PUJs 10 to 14 times per week, while 20 percent said they rely on jeepneys over 14 times a week.
The online survey also found out that if a fare increase is inevitable, 72 percent prefer that the government limit it to just P1 (43 percent) or less (29 percent).