Instead of a fare increase, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said it is planning to implement programs that will provide financial assistance to public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators as a way to cushion the impact of the rising pump prices.
Transportation Secretay Arthur P. Tugade said the Department’s Road Sector has agreed to push for programs that will aid PUV drivers and operators without the need to implement higher fares.
According to Tugade, they understand the plight of operators and drivers who are still reeling hard from financial woes triggered by the pandemic but emphasized the need to also consider the situation of the riding public.
“Balansehin ang pangangailangan ng mga drayber sa kakayanan ng mga pasahero ngayong pandemya kaya imbes na across the board increase, ayuda sa drayber at ayuda sa pasahero ang itutulak ng DOTr (We need to balance the needs of the drivers and the capacity of the commuters in this time of pandemic, so instead of across the board increase, the DOTr will push for assistance for both drivers and passengers),” Tugade explained.
The DOTr chief added that they have been meeting with the Department of Energy (DOE) to explore ways on mitigating the impact of increasing fuel prices such as providing a uniform discount or fuel subsidy for PUVs at gas stations across the country.
He likewise urged drivers and operators to participate in the government’s Service Contracting Program where they will get paid on a per kilometer basis.
Tugade also bared that the Department is now looking to possibly increase the incentives being paid under the program due to the steady rise in fuel costs.
“Bilang konsiderasyon sa pagtaas ng presyo ng krudo, pinag-aaralan na rin na taasan ang insentibo kada kilometrahe (In consideration of the increase in oil prices, we are now studying if we can increase the incentive per kilometer),” he added.
Leaders of several transport groups earlier filed before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) a petition for a P3 fare hike for public utility jeepneys to compensate for the rising fuel prices.
But the groups said there is a possibility to withdraw their petition once they were granted enough subsidy to cover their operating expenses.