Citrasco fare hike request draws opposition

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

SEVERAL sectors including workers and teachers will oppose the petition for an increase in jeepney fare from P7.50 to P10 for the first four kilometers, which will be discussed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)7 on June 24.

Annabelle dela Serna, Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC) vice chair for the Visayas, said the P10-minimum jeepney fare will not be feasible here in Cebu because the minimum wage is very low compared to Manila.

Art Barrit of the Associated Labor Union—Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said they will oppose the petition for fare increase the Cebu Integrated Transport Service Cooperative (Citrasco) filed because it will greatly affect the purchasing power of the workers and reduce their take-home pay.


Barrit said the planned increase will compromise the shoe-string budget of the workers’ families.

“We support the move (of the drivers), but not this time. Instead, we are asking the companies to institute car-pooling for the workers to maintaining the purchasing power and it will help save fossil-based fuel and help reduce traffic,” Barrit said.

Dennis Derige, spokesman of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), said an increase will be an additional burden to the general commuters especially that the recent P13 cost of living allowance (Cola) the RTWPB granted has no impact against the rising prices of commodities.

On the other hand, Derige said PUJ drivers also need to cope with the rising cost of fuel, which eroded their daily take-home pay.

“On this basis, we will support any call for any government subsidy for PUJ drivers to mitigate the impact of the fuel hike. But we must never lose sight and must preserve more on the struggle to junk the oil deregulation law,” Derige said.

Elpedio Caterbas of AMA-Sugbo-KMU said any jeepney fare hike will cause heavy burden to the riding public.

He said that what the public need is price rollback by multinational oil companies and other oil industry players who already raked huge profits by steadily increasing the prices of fuel.

“Oil companies are overpricing their products, which is being tolerated by the government.

It’s now time for oil companies to reduce their prices to prevent fare hike,” Caterbas said.

LTFRB 7 Director Ahmed Cuizon said that his office will invite stakeholders who will be affected Citrasco’s petition.

Drivers’ views

The increase the Citrasco is asking drew mixed reactions from drivers themselves.

Public utility jeepney (PUJ) driver Orcel Tonacao said the P2.50 fare increase proposed by Citrasco is too much, especially for students.

“Dako ra! Kung ako estudyante, dako ra kaayo’ng P10 nga pliti para nako (That’s too much! If I were a student, a fare of P10 is too steep),” Tonacao said.

Another jeepney driver, Isabelo Bologon, said that while he can benefit from the P2.50 fare hire for PUJs, he also pities students who cannot afford the fare.

Psychology student Charqueline Palmitos agreed.

She said even at the rate of P6.50, most jeepney drivers still collect P7.50 from them.

Palmitos admits there is an advantage to the increase, because most jeepney drivers are bread winners so that a fare hike would mean additional income for them.

On the other hand, Palmitos said families are still reeling from financial crisis and a fare hike is an added burden.

Jedha Marie Perges, a mass communication student, shared an experience where she handed P10 to the jeepney driver for a ride from the Cebu City South Bus Terminal to Colon St., but was only given a change of one peso.

“I complained to him and said that it is in the law that students should only pay P6.50,” said Perges.

Vendor Rodelyn Cabero, though, said that if the fare hike is what’s good for the majority, then it should be implemented. (With Zash Mariez E. del Pilar, USJ-R MassCom Intern)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 16, 2014.

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