Koronadal transport group seeks fare hike

Councilor Oscar Pagunsan, chair of the city council's committee on transportation, communication, energy and conservation, said two major transport groups in the city have filed separate petitions calling for amendments to Ordinance no. 06, series of 2005 that earlier set the regular minimum tricycle fare here at P6.

"They cited various reasons (for the proposed fare increase). But mainly they mentioned the rising prices of oil products, motorcycle accessories and servicing," he said.

In a petition letter they submitted to the city council, the Unified Transport Operators and Drivers here proposed for an increase in the regular and student fare from P6 to P8, senior citizens’ fare from P5 to P7 and day care and kindergarten pupils’ fare from P4 to P6.

On the other hand, militant transport group Kadena sought a P 1 fare increase in all levels or a minimum regular fare of P7.

The group requested a formal dialogue between members of the city council and their members to help address the matter properly.

"The P1 fare increase will be enough to ease our current misery and at the same time not put too much burden on our commuters," said Kadena chair Roy Mesa.

Mesa said they petitioned for the fare hike mainly due to the inflation, which was triggered by the increase in oil prices and food products, especially rice.

He said the increase in commercial rice prices, which reached to as high as P33 a kilo according to the National Food Authority, "further undermined our capacity to survive" the present crisis.

Pagunsan admitted that aside from the fuel prices, the prices of motorcycle accessories have also gone up drastically during the past several months.

He cited that the price of motorcycle tires already increased to P500 from the previous P250 while the cost of motorcycle servicing has shot up to P150.  

But while he said he is aware of the problems besetting the transport sector, Pagunsan refused to say whether a fare increase is necessary at this time.

"The committee will still take up these petitions and then we will schedule the public hearings. I will reserve my judgment pending our consultations," he said.

In the meantime, Pagunsan advised tricycle drivers to refrain from charging fares higher than the current minimum of P6.

"I've been receiving complaints about some drivers demanding higher fares. I advise them not to do that since they may be charged and eventually penalized for illegally charging fares higher than the current minimum," he warned. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)