Bus fares in R-12, other areas up; another hike seen next month

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/18 April) – Bus companies operating in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao and the neighboring regions implemented a P4 to P19 increase in their fares starting Monday as they announced another series of fare rate adjustments in the area by next month.
Olimpio Par, operations manager of Yellow Bus Line Inc. (YBL), said they raised the fares for the deluxe class of their routes from General Santos to Digos City (Davao del Sur) and Davao City by P19 or from P180 to P199 for one-way travel.
He said the fare for the same routes in their first class airconditioned bus units increased by P15 or from P225 to P240 while their premiere airconditioned class buses implemented a P4 fare adjustment or from P250 to P254.
“This is not yet the result of the impact of the continuing oil price increases but we’re just fully implementing the rate adjustments approved by LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board) in 2008,” Par said in a radio interview.
He was referring to a memorandum circular issued by the LTFRB on May 17, 2008, which was the last time the agency approved a fare rate adjustment for the area.
Par said YBL and other bus companies in the region decided then to forego the full implementation of the May 2008 fare increase due to competition.
But in a meeting by members of the Southern Mindanao Bus Operators Association (SMBOA) in Davao City last week, he said they decided to fully implement the 2008 fare rates pending the anticipated rate adjustments due to the effects of the oil price increases.
He said among those who agreed to implement the May 2008 fare rates are the Davao City-based Holiday Bus Company and the Husky Transport, a cooperative-owned bus firm based in this city and South Cotabato.
Holiday Bus, Husky Transport and YBL, which is the oldest and considered the biggest bus company in Southwestern Mindanao, serves key routes in the cities of Davao, Digos, General Santos, Tacurong and Koronadal and the provinces of South Cotabato, Davao del Sur, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat.
“We agreed to implement a similar or uniform fare rates for all routes based on the 2008 fare matrix (from the LTFRB),” he said.
For the other routes, Par said they will implement the fare increases starting on May 1.
Based on the initial computations made by the company, he said the upcoming fare adjustments will range from P2 to P5, depending on the bus unit’s classification.
Par said they decided to delay the implementation of the new fare rates for the other routes, which includes key towns and cities in South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces, to allow local residents to prepare for them.
“The bulk of our passengers come from South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces and we don’t want to take advantage of the influx of travelers from these areas during the Holy Week,” he added.(Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)