Transport sector pushes to raise fares due to hike in oil prices

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 30) — Jeepney drivers are feeling the crunch from the steady rise of fuel prices.

The money they earn daily often gets split three ways: the boundary, fuel, and their take-home pay.

The cost of fuel is making it hard for them to make ends meet, and therefore some drivers are joining petitions for a fare hike.

Some groups asked for a fare increase of ₱4.00, an amount which surprised transport regulators at a hearing Wednesday.

When asked about the fare hike amount, transport group PASANG MASDA president Obet Martin said they are asking for ₱2.00, the amount they mentioned in the petition they filed last February.

Regulators are saying transport groups should present a common fare hike petition for the next hearing on June 13.

Meanwhile, jeepney groups are also proposing another scheme to cushion the impact of high fuel prices – a ₱4 to ₱5 fuel discount in exchange for the fare hike.

"Walang problema sa otso pa rin tayo. ₱5 ang gagawin nilang discount? From ₱45 to ₱40? Okay na kami doon. Para mapagbigyan din natin ang kahilingan ng ating mga mananakay," Martin said.

[Translation: There is no problem if fares remain at ₱8. They will give a ₱5 discount? From ₱45 to ₱40? We're okay with that. So we can also accommodate the request of our passengers.]

Some oil companies are already giving a ₱1 discount for jeepney drivers, but Martin says this amount is not enough.

Transporation Board member Aileen Lizada said transport regulators would meet with oil executives about the proposed discount on June 15th.

The oil price spike is cutting across other modes of transport as well, as airline companies are seeking permission to restore the fuel surcharge on passengers.

The surcharge was removed in early 2015.

Wyrlou Samodio, legal division chief of the Civil Aeronautics Board, said, "Ang mga petitions sa amin hindi naman talaga sa increase ng pamasahe but petitions for the reimposition of fuel surcharge. Dalawang domestic carriers na po natin ang nagfile ng petition to lift the prohibition on fuel surcharge – PAL and Cebu Pacific."

[Translation: Our petitions are not to raise fares, but petitions for the reimposition of the fuel surcharge. Two domestic carriers have already filed a petition to life the prohibition on fuel surcharge – PAL (Philippine Airlines) and Cebu Pacific.]

Some shipping companies have already adjusted fares to reflect higher fuel costs.

Maximo Bañares, of MARINA legal services, said, "Based from our franchising service, there are some owners starting to increase their fares to recover for the increase in fuel prices."