MANILA, Oct 20 (Mabuhay) — A group of drivers and operators of public utility vehicles (PUVs) is seeking public support on their petition to add “surge” pricing on PUV fares due to the continued rise in fuel prices.

A passenger (left) gives her fare to a conductor of an ordinary bus plying the Quiapo-Pandacan-Beata route along Pandacan in Manila. (MNS photo)

In a Laging Handa briefing on Wednesday, Pasang Masda president Roberto “Ka Obet” Martin said their petition to add PHP1 to both traditional and modern jeepney fares and PHP2 for buses is to offset the added cost of vehicular traffic and fuel prices.

“Iyan naman po ay pansamantala naming ipatutupad kung sakali at aprubahan ito ng LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) dahil nga dito sa halos linggu-linggong pagtaas ng presyo ng petrolyo (This is only temporary if approved by the LTFRB because of the almost weekly rise in the prices of fuel),” Martin said.

In the petition filed by Pasang Masda, Alliance of Transport Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines, and Alliance of Concerned Transport Organization on Friday, the surge pricing would take effect during rush hours, from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. during weekdays.

“Iyan po ay piso, malayo o malapit ganoon din po sapagkat kailangan lang po namin (This is just PHP1, near or far it will be the same because we need it),” he said.

Once fuel prices normalize, he said transport groups will voluntarily withdraw their petition.

“Maunawaan sana tayo ng ating mga mananakay na this is give-and-take situation sapagkat sa panahon na ito ay talagang hirap na ang mga driver (We hope passengers understand that this is a give-and-take situation because drivers have it hard during this time),” he said.

He noted that government support to PUV drivers and operators during the pandemic, such as the service contracting program and fuel subsidy program, has since ceased.

“Baka mayroon pang natitirang budget ang DOTr (Department of Transportation) para sa free rides hanggang December para maitulong naman din po namin sa ating mga mananakay at magkatulung-tulong tayo. Iyon po ‘yung aming alternatibo (Maybe the DOTr has remaining budget for the free ride program until December to help passengers. This is our alternative option),” he said.

On Tuesday, the LTFRB revealed the petition made by transport groups to add surge pricing to PUV fares to help make up for their loss of income brought by rising fuel prices.

It said the petition is being studied and will be decided after studying its effects on transport stakeholders, the public, and the economy. (MNS)