The head of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Region 10 (LTFRB-10) on Thursday said the agency will consider increasing the minimum fare for thousands of public utility jeepneys (PUJs) in Northern Mindanao, but not the exact figure that transport groups are asking for.

LTFRB-10 Director, Aminoden Guro said their central office is still weighing on the petition to increase to PHP10 the current minimum fare of PHP7.

Guro said it was unlikely that LTFRB would grant the PHP10 minimum fare, and that the agency may settle for PHP8 since the base fare in Metro Manila is PHP9.

Guro said the minimum fare in other areas must not be equal or greater than the National Capital Region, as the cost of living in Metro Manila is higher than in other areas.

National Confederation of Transport Union regional coordinator Joel Gabatan said Friday the petition to increase the minimum fare in Northern Mindanao was submitted in July last year.

“We are still waiting for the approval of our petition,” Gabatan said.

Guro said LTFRB is in no hurry to approve new fake hike petitions as the agency has already ruled in July this year that transport groups may automatically increase their fare based on prevailing fuel prices.

However, the LTFRB-10 chief said transport groups must follow the specific fare adjustment formula released by the agency.

For instance, if the rate of fuel goes down to PHP2 per liter, Guro said the minimum fare in Northern Mindanao would still be P8– granting that the LTFRB has already granted the pending petition.

But he said that should petroleum products increase by PHP3 to PHP5 per liter, about 50 centavos or PHP1 could be added to the minimum fare.

Meanwhile, Guro has reminded the bus operators in the region to check the condition of their units in light of the Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. (RTMI) bus that caught fire in Malaybalay City recently.

Based on the investigation, Guro said faulty electrical wiring caused the conflagration of the 10-year old bus.

LTFRB regulations limit the roadworthiness of buses up to 15 years only.

“I have advised the RTMI management to upgrade their fleet. Even if their buses are not yet 15 years old but are no longer roadworthy, they must replace them,” he said.

Starting next year, he said LTFRB will no longer renew the franchises of public utility vehicles operators if they do not upgrade their units.

Guro said that by 2020, PUVs must already be equipped with closed-circuit television camera, dashboard camera, global positioning system, and others in compliance with the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines and the PUV modernization of the government. (PNA)