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The Land Transportation, Franchising, and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) approved a one-peso fare hike in public utility jeepneys (PUJs) in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Southern Tagalog. What was once a nine-peso minimum fare is now at 10 pesos, effective November 2. As with previous hikes, drivers are required to secure a copy of the matrix to inform the passengers on the new ruling and to legally collect the new fare.

Here’s the catch: obtaining that document costs 610 pesos. Franchise verification is at P40, the fare matrix itself is at P50, and the increase of fare rate is at P520. Long queues of drivers and operators at the agency’s office were also reported, with some lining up for as long as three hours.

LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra quickly clarified that the fee was already in existence for a long time. Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) president George San Mateo, however, begs to differ. He said that previous fare matrices were free for drivers, citing that only the operators paid for one master copy before.

Netizens were quick to tweet their thoughts on the issue. Some were confused at the unusually high fare matrix fee.

Others expressed dismay over the irony of drivers paying for what’s supposed to be their additional income.

Netizens called out the LTFRB, too.

There were some who expressed sympathy for the jeepney drivers.

One netizen reiterated PISTON’s suggestion of making the fare matrix available online for easier accessibility.

Why should you care about the issue, you ask? The answer is simple.

The jeepney is a major part of the public transport system in the country. In fact, there are around 180,000 franchised units today, which serves roughly 40% of commuters in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, according to a CNN report published late last year. It’s extremely economical, too, despite the recent fare hikes, at nine to ten pesos a ride.

Simply put, what they do is public service. What affects them can affect you. When oil prices soared, so did the minimum fare. Both drivers and commuters bore witness to two fare increases within three months this year alone.

What do you think about LTFRB’s 610-peso fare matrix fee?

Photo from Manila Bulletin

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