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Bus Operators File Petition for Fare Hike Increase

A number of bus operators have filed for a petition to increase both the minimum fare and the succeeding kilometer rate for ordinary and air-conditioned buses that operate within Metro Manil and the provincial routes.

The Southern Luzon Bus Operators Association, the Nagkakaisang Samahan ng Nangangasiwa ng Panlalawigang Bus sa Pilipinas, and the Samahang Transport Operators ng Pilipinas jointly filed a petition asking the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to increase the fare rate of ordinary buses within Metro Manila for the first five kilometers to P13.30 (P10 currently) with every succeeding kilometer at P2.45 (P1.85) while for air-conditioned buses, the rates being asked for are at P15.95 (P12 currently) and P2.95 (P2.20), respectively.

For provincial buses, the rates the three organizations are asking for are at P11.95 (P9 currently) for the first five kilometers and P1.85 (P1.40) for every succeeding kilometer for ordinary buses while for air-conditioned buses, the rates are at P2.15 (P1.60 currently ) per kilometer for the “Regular Aircon Bus,” P2.25 (P1.70) per kilometer for the “De Luxe Aircon Bus,” P2.40 (P1.80) per kilometer for the “Super de Luxe Aircon Bus,” and P3 (P2.25) per kilometer for the “Luxury Aircon Bus.”

According to the petition, the fare hike is beng asked for because of numerous reasons, foremost of which is the passage of Republic Act 1096, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, which has raised an additional P3 to P8 per liter the prices of various fuel-based products used by the bus operators, from the diesel fuel to the lubricants they use to keep their fleet operational.

The petition also noted that there has been no fare increase since March 25, 2011 and that the minimum wage then was only P404 per day while the pump price per liter of diesel fuel then was at P35 whereas today, the minimum wage is at P512 per day while the price of diesel fuel is now at P41.05 on average.

Furthermore, the petitioners added that the prices of toll fees have also increased and that the cost of acquiring brand-new buses–both ordinary and air-conditioned–in line with the Department of Transportation’s Bus Modernization Program is expensive at P6 million to P8 million.

“Foregoing increases in operational costs attendant to the business of public mass transportation have effectively negated the previous fare adjustments granted and have rendered subject business non viable,” the operators emphasized in the petition. “It is therefore imperative of this Honorable Board to expeditiously and appropriately address the matter if only to pre-empt the collapse of the public transport industry.”

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