TRANSPORT groups in Cebu are seeking a jeepney fare increase in Central Visayas instead of a fare surge during a public hearing that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) conducted in Region 7 on Monday. Ryan Yu, chairman of the Cebu Integrated Transport Cooperative (Citrasco), said they submitted an amended petition for a P1 straight increase instead of a fare surge of P2 at certain times of the day. Yu pointed out that jeepney fare in the country is P8 for the first four kilometers and the P1 fare hike is not too much to ask. While Citrasco is seeking a P1 fare raise the Basak-Lapu-Lapu City Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association Inc. (Balacjoda) is asking for P1.50. The current jeepney fare in Cebu is P6.50 for the first five kilometers and an additional 90 centavos for the succeeding kilometer. Central Visayas has 17,000 jeepneys and 75 percent of these are plying Cebu roads. The group cited recent oil price hikes, minimum wage increase last March 10, engine maintenance, heavy traffic and increase in jeepney rental of operators as reasons for their petition for the fare hike. Ennoh Fernandez, chairman of the Kilusang Pagbabago in Central Visayas, led strong opposition to the fare hike, calling the P1 increase unfair as it would greatly affect those living below the poverty line. LTFRB-7 Regional Director Ahmed Cuizon said they will send their recommendation regarding the petition and forward it to the central office next week.
RHEA RUTH ROSELL