Provincial bus operators will not raise their fares inspite of rising maintenance and parts costs and inflation.
The Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOA) assured the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board that it will abide by the provisional authority the board issued on May 17, 2008.
That authority pegs the provincial bus fare at P9 for the first five kilometers and P1.40 for every succeeding kilometer for non air-conditioned buses.
The PBOA said it will keep fares for airconditioned buses at P9 per kilometer with P1.80 for each succeeding kilometer, aircon deluxe buses at P1.70 per kilometer and luxury buses at P2.25 per kilometer.
PBOA Executive Director Alex Yague said provincial bus fares remain unchanged since 2008 inspite of increases in toll rates, fluctuations in diesel prices, increasing maintenance costs and inflation.
He said bus companies have been absorbing the costs of oil and motor parts for the past six years.
Records show that the price of motor oil has risen from P86 per liter to P132 per liter in 2014.
The pricea of tires and spare parts rose by 38 percent from 2008 to 2014.
Yague said provincial bus operators also spent enormous sums installing global positioning systems, speed limiters and other accessories in their units to improve passenger safety and security.
The group could also face higher toll rates at the North Luzon Expressway, South Luzon Expressway and Cavitex by 2015.
Yague said changing the fare matrix now will not benefit commuters and the bus industry at large.
At the same time, he said any cost PBOA members will incur during the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) integration will not be passed on to commuters.
“Bus companies are tasked by government to shoulder the future costs of such integration and with this, both the bus sector and the government should work together to enable bus companies to meet the growing market requirements,” he said.
The country’s provincial bus sector is one of the biggest in the Asean region, with about 8,000 buses servicing many parts of the archipelago.
“Our economy is growing and the population is growing. Globalization and the Asean integration is setting in by 2015 and the modernization of our bus industry whish is essential to the success of our mass transport system is the government’s primary concern,” Yague said.