Franchise suspension threatens transport groups imposing unauthorized fare hikes

On a Facebook post of netizen Sheila Crisostomo, a poster at a UV express terminal shows an advisory to its passengers about the P5.00 increase in its fares.
Based on the said poster, from the previous P45, the fares at the said UV express terminal will increase to P50 for trips from Meycauyan, Bulacan to Quezon City.
It also stated that the said fare hike is due to the expected increase in petroleum prices due to the implementation of the government’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusive or TRAIN law.
This prompted the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to issue a stern warning against transport groups implementing unauthorized fare hikes.
“To all public utility vehicle operators, you are not allowed to implement a fare hike on your own. Doing so is unauthorized,” Atty. Aileen Lizada said.
Under the Joint Administrative Order Number 2014-1, operators who would implement a fare hike will face a P 5,000 penalty for the 1ST offense.
Second-time offenders will have to pay a fine of P 10,000 and 60 day-suspension and withdrawal of their for-hire plates.
Those who will commit the offense for the 3rd time will face cancellation of their franchise.
Atty. Lizada explained that only Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA) and Grab Philippines have submitt a d petition for a fare increase to the LTFRB.
She noted the LTFRB Board could release a resolution in March since they still have to conduct a thorough consultation with the National Economic and Development Authority or NEDA and commuters groups before deciding on the fare hike petition.
The LTFRB also calls on passengers to immediately inform them about any public utility drivers, operators, or groups that take unfair advantage of the situation.
“Take a picture of the signage, if there are any. Or take a picture of the plate number or their routes and let us know. The account is LTFRB citizen enforcer on Facebook or Twitter. It’s better if you could take a video, so we could issue the necessary show-cause order,” Lizada said.
The agency is set to conduct a special board meeting on Wednesday to begin the discussions on the petition for fare increase filed by PNTOA and Grab Philippines.