THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) approved on Friday a provisional reduction of the flagdown fare for taxis from P40 to P30 because of prevailing low prices of oil in the world market.
“While this board as a regulatory agency has in mind the interest and concerns of public land transport operators, we need to be more mindful of our primary mandate of serving the interest of the riding public,” LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez said.
The reduction will take effect on Monday, March 9, covering all air-conditioned taxi services, including Airport Taxi Service, nationwide.
There is, however, no provisional reduction of fares for every succeeding 300 meters.
The LTFRB granted the provisional reduction based on a petition filed by Negros Oriental Rep. Manuel M. Iway on December 17, 2014 requesting the board to reduce the flagdown fare for taxis from the existing P40 to P30 and from the current P3.50 to P2.50 for every succeeding 300 meters for taxi services nationwide.
Iway was a former LTFRB member.
A hearing was held to hear the petition on January 9, 2015.
Transport groups and other associations in opposition of the reduction were given seven days after the hearing or until January 16, 2015 to file their respective written oppositions, before the board came up with the resolution.
Public hearings and consultations were also conducted by the LTFRB, including its regional offices, for determination of reduction of fares of public land transportation services brought by a series of oil price rollbacks.
Ginez said in deciding to reduce the flagdown rate for taxi services, the board considered reports and economic analyses of various government agencies.
In an assessment made by the Department of Energy (DOE) on January 23, 2015, it highlighted that as a result of declines in international oil prices last year, the oil industry implemented substantial decreases on local oil prices.
For gasoline, the 18 increases vis-à-vis the 25 rollbacks resulted in a net decrease of more than P13 per liter of the product.
Similarly, the 16 increases and 31 decreases in diesel pump prices resulted in net decrease of about P15 per liter.
In the case of LPG, which most taxis are now using, there was a total net decrease of P15.94 per liter.
The declines continued in 2015, with three rollbacks resulting in net decreases of P3.90 per liter for gasoline, P3.75 per liter for diesel and P3.07 for LPG.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also favorably endorsed the petition for fare reduction of the petitioner grounded on the higher impact of fuel prices on the transport sector.
If oil prices later increase to the prejudice of transport operators, Ginez said, the LTFRB will review its order to reduce the flagdown taxi fare.
Taxi operators and drivers violating the order will be penalized under Joint Administrative Order 2014-01 (Revised Schedule of Fines and Penalties for Violations of Laws, Rules and Regulations Governing Land Transportation).
“Taking into proper account and consideration of the recommendation of these government agencies, the confluence of circumstances and incidents that transpired in local and world economy/market, and the rights of public land transport operators vis-à-vis the interest of the public in general, the board is now constrained to issue this order,” Ginez said.