Jeepney, taxi, TNVS drivers seek fare hike due to coming oil price increase

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 3) — Jeepney, taxi, and TNVS drivers want to raise fares in the wake of the impending fuel price hike as a result of the tax reform law.

Under the recently approved law, a ₱2.50 centavo excise tax is imposed on diesel, and gasoline tax will increase to ₱7 from ₱4.35.

Grab Philippines said it shared the sentiment of its drivers – there is a need to increase the fares due to the impending oil price hike.

Grab Philippines Country Head Brian Cu said they will file a petition before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) this week to allow them to increase the ordinary fare of their Grabcar services by 6 percent to 10 percent, once fuel prices are adjusted according to law.

Cu said, "Once we start shortchanging drivers...they might end up driving faster, they might end up resorting to canceling trips or rejecting trips that they feel lugi sila dahil sa gas."

[Translation: Once we start shortchanging drivers...they might end up driving faster, they might end up resorting to canceling trips or rejecting trips that they feel they won't earn from because of gas.]

Cu explained, the six to 10 percent increase on the base fare will compensate for the roughly nine percent hike in additional expenses of drivers from the fuel price hike and higher prices of automobile spare parts.

"If a fare adjustment is not made, this would put in question their income on a monthly basis and thus further potentially reduce the number of TNVS vehicles plying the streets because they would be forced to find other jobs that are better paying," he said.

TNVS refers to transport network vehicle services, the term used for vehicles booked by passengers via ride-sharing apps.

RELATED: Gov't: No fuel price hike soon due to new tax reform law

Similarly, the Philippine National Taxi Opertors Association wants to increase the flag down rate from the approved rate of ₱40 last year to ₱50 due to the impending oil price hike.

Bong Suntay, president of the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association, said, "Gustuhin man ng operator na lumabas ang mga unit nila, wala nang naglalabas...dahil di sapat ang kinikita."

[Translation: Even if the operator wants to send out units, they don't...because they do not earn enough.]

For the same reason, jeepney drivers and operators are poised to ask the LTFRB for a ₱2 fare hike – this is on top of the pending P2 fare hike petition due to rising fuel prices in the past months.

 

Rolando Macandili works from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. as a Grabcar driver.

On a good day, he brings home ₱700 pesos to his family, but he fears, with the impending fuel price increase due to the Tax Reform Law, his daily earnings might be reduced by as much as ₱100.

Macandili said, "Malaki ang epekto. Sana taasan din ang fare o pamasahe para balanse ang take home pay namin."

[Translation: It has a huge effect. I hope the fare is raised so our take home pay is balanced.]

Pasang Masda President Obet Martin said, "Kung hindi mapagbibigyan ang kahilingan na to, malaki ang mawawala sa jeepney driver sapagkat ito magbubunsod ito, na malaki isho-shoulder ng jeepney driver."

[Translation: If this request isn't granted, jeepney drivers will lose a lot because they will shoulder a majority of the cost.]

For its part, the LTFRB says drivers and operators will have to justify their proposed fare increase. Regulators will also need to hear commuters before deciding on the matter.