After jeeps, buses might soon halt operations next amid skyrocketing fuel price

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
After jeeps, buses might soon halt operations next amid skyrocketing fuel price
Commuters, who are heading to their workplaces, line up at the Nepa Q-Mart station of the EDSA Bus Carousel in Quezon City early Tuesday morning, June 21, 2022, to beat the influx of passengers. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority estimated last week that there will be a possible increase in passenger volume as fewer private cars may ply EDSA due to the continuing hike in oil prices.
The STAR / Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — After losing hundreds of jeepney units offering free rides, commuters might soon see less public utility buses plying the roads too, with operators beginning to feel the bite of skyrocketing gas prices.

Speaking in an interview Wednesday morning aired over DZMM TeleRadyo, Juliet de Jesus, managing director of the Samahan ng mga Transport Operators ng Pilipinas said that something would have to give to keep buses on the roads despite longwinding delays on both petitions to increase minimum fare and calls for a subsidy.

Drivers of public utility buses, many of which serve the EDSA Carousel in the metro's busiest thoroughfare while others are provincial buses bringing commuters into the capital region, have protested delayed payment of the Libreng Sakay program under service contracting and harsh treatment by employers. But the transportation department brushed these off as unreported cases that should be under the jurisdiction of the labor department.

"We're more affected because we're buses. The diesel requirements and our operational expenses are bigger," de Jesus said in Filipino.

"[If] worse comes to worst, I'm not saying it will happen now, but if they don't do something and we're forced to just wait for the hearing, buses will obviously have to halt their operations if they really can't purchase diesel."

De Jesus was referring to the hearings of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board on petitions filed by groups representing bus drivers and operators pushing for a P4 to P7 increase that would increase the minimum fare to P15 to P20.

The possible loss of buses ferrying commuters along EDSA would cripple a public transport system already in crisis, with hundreds of jeepney routes also setting up shop after drivers decided to search for other ways to provide for their families.

Implementing agencies point fingers over delayed trike subsidy

It isn't just bus drivers but tricycle operators too: In another interview also over ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, Ariel Lim, convenor of the National Confederation of Tricycle and TODA, said that many of the group's members still haven't received the fuel subsidy promised by the national government.

"We did everything they asked, we complied, but we got nothing, and that's just the way it is. The way I see it, we're not getting anything anymore, and we're not going to hope for it. The ones who received [a subsidy] are the lucky ones, and we'll just be happy for them," he said in Filipino.

In a separate statement issued earlier Wednesday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año claimed that the nearly 150,000 operators who did not receive fuel subsidies were "disqualified due to lack of means of verification, such as driver's license numbers, incomplete e-wallet information, or names submitted after the deadline."

He added that 617,806 others who were qualified are still set to receive their fuel cash subsidy under the Pantawid Pasada Program for Tricycle Drivers.

"Everyone on the masterlist of qualified tricycle drivers will receive a fuel subsidy. Let's just wait for the LTFRB's notification for details and more information," he said.

"There was validation and verification to ensure that the recipients of the fuel subsidy are the legitimate ones who are franchised and not colorum, have a license, and have submitted the requirements by the deadline given by the government," he said.

But when asked for a release schedule of the fuel subsidies, LTFRB executive director Tina Cassion told reporters in a Viber message that "originally it was before June 17, but the target now is by the first week, of July."

"We returned it to the DILG for verification of the accounts because they were rejected by the Land Bank of the Philippines system. We're still waiting for the resubmission from DILG," she said in mixed Filipino and English.






  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with