By Krixia Subingsubing, October 24 2018; Philippine Daily Inquirer


Image Credit to Daily Tribune

What was supposed to be a routine hearing at the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) office on a pending fare hike petition took an ironic turn after an on-the-spot calculation of the current rates of some UV Express operators showed they had been overcharging passengers for over 10 years.

The petitioners — eight UV Express associations plying routes in the cities of Marikina and Makati — told the LTFRB that they had been charging a P60 fare for their end-to-end trips spanning around 25 kilometers since 2007.

Provisional hike

The hearing was in connection with their motion seeking a P1.25/km provisional increase in their minimum fare.

The current base rate is P2 per kilometer, meaning they have been overcharging passengers by P10 for over 10 years.

Even when computing using an adjusted route — adding 4 km to their trips because of detours and rerouting schemes — their current rate was still P2 more than what they should be charging.

Should their pending petition should be approved, this would mean a P81.25 end-to-end fare for passengers which LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada described as “too much.”

In a lighthearted moment, Lizada quipped, “Kung mahal mo ’yung mga mananakay, hindi tayo sobrang magmamahal (If you love your riders, you will not charge them too much).”

The LTFRB later asked the UV Express operators to amend their original petition within 10 days and to determine how they arrived at their proposed fare hike of P1.25 per km.

Many more pending petitions

The UV Express petition was among a series of motions for fare hikes that had inundated the LTFRB recently. The transport operators are citing higher oil prices resulting from the implementation of the Duterte administration’s tax reform program.

The petitioners in Tuesday’s hearing were the Marikina-Ortigas-Makati Transport Service Cooperative, Marikina-Ortigas Transport Service, Ayala-Makati Express, Bonita Express, Marikina Heights Ayala Transport, Ugnayan, Dynamic Aerosystem and Fairlane Ortigas-Makati.

Their petition, however, is separate from the appeal filed by UV Express group Code-X in January. Code-X is seeking an even higher fare rate hike of P2 per km.