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The Federation of Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association of Puerto Princesa City (FTODA) is seeking an increase in the minimum fare for tricycles plying different routes in the city, amidst the fuel price increase brought about by the unstable cost of crude oil in the international market.

FTODA recently passed a resolution requesting a P2 increase in the minimum fare for the first two kilometers and a P0.25 addition for every succeeding kilometer. The resolution was forwarded to the Sangguniang Panlungsod for appropriate action.

Yesterday, at a meeting of the Committee on Transportation, FTODA president Ernie Lusoc said that they had already had some preliminary talks with Councilor Nesario Awat.

“Nagkaroon ng initial na usapan sa committee meeting, hindi sya nasama sa agenda pero isiningit na lang sa other matters. Ang proseso pala ay mauna sa CTFRB at i-endorse sa committee on transport para sa isang public consultation para mapag-usapan yung request natin kasama yung ibang stakeholders,” he said.

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The bracketed minimum fare requested by the FTODA indicated in their resolution forwarded to the City Council.

Aside from the fare increase, the federation also requested an increase in fare rates based on a bracketed system.

Under the bracket system, the current minimum fare of P12 is for a fuel price range of P60–P70. If the fuel price reaches the range of P70.01-P80, the minimum fare will automatically increase by P2.

Lusoc said the bracket system was agreed upon by the federation to cut short the public consultations, which he said take time before a fare increase is implemented. He also stated that the minimum fare will adjust accordingly whenever fuel prices fluctuate by P10 increments.

“Depende sa presyuhan ng gasolina kaya naka-bracketing tayo. Kasi noong nag-increase tayo, nasa P62 or P63 ang presyo ng gasolina so naging P12 yun. After that, kasi mabilis nga, hindi naman tayo mag-increase ng malakihan kasi hindi naman stable yung presyuhan, mabilis tumaas, mabilis bumaba, para hindi naman masyadong abala kasi ang public hearing umaabot ng three to five months so malaki na ang ginagalaw ng presyo ng gasoline. So nag-propose kami ng bracketing. Depende sa presyo ng gasoline, automatic na gagalaw siya. Halimbawa sa resolution namin, dahil sa P60-P70, ang minimum ay P12. P70.01-P80, (mayroong) P2 na increase sa pamasahe. Kada P10 na pag-angat sa bracket na P2. Pag bumaba naman, automatic din na bababa ang pamasahe,” Lusoc told Palawan News in a telephone interview.

“Ito, initially, ay napag-usapan doon sa committee. Kasi kung may pondo para sa fuel subsidy, ikakaltas din yun sa minimum fare,” he added.

He also said the current minimum fare of P12 is based on fuel prices back in 2021, after which they also adopted a resolution requesting a P3 increase.

“Then dahil matagal ang public hearing, gumawa rin kami ng isang resolution na kung may available na pondo, baka pwedeng habang dinidinig yung fare increase, mabigyan kami ng fuel subsidy dahil immediate na pangangailangan yun at naibigay naman last March bago mag election ban,” Lusoc explained, referring to the P5,000 fuel subsidy.

They removed the fare hike resolution and approved a new one since it was no longer being discussed.

“May bago kaming panukala na fare increase pa rin pero bracketing siya para mabilis ang action. Ang gusto ng committee, mabilis sana pero kasi i-refer pa yun sa CTFRB (City Franchising and Regulatory Board) para yun ang mag-utos sa committee para sa public consultation,” Lusoc said.

Public opinion
But commuters have different opinions, on the other hand.

Many claimed that even after restrictions were lifted, tricycles did not cut the trike fees they were permitted to charge customers during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Dagdag singil? Matagal na sila ngtaas noh??? NCCC to Valencia 20 pesos na singil nila. Minsan nga, sila na mismo nagsasabi 1 biyahe po 40pesos!!! SM-Robinson nga singil nila 200 pesos??? [insert palm on the face emoji],” a resident said.

“Pag 20 ibibigay, kukunin nila 15. Pag maaga ka pa sasakay, ang singil 20. Pag malayo doble [ang] sisingilin, at pag mag isa ka lang, dalawa sisingilin. Yung totoo, may nakikita ba sila na kasama natin na hindi natin nakikita? Hahaha [insert laughing emoji],” another said.

Aside from tricycles with franchise, they also complained about drivers of “colorum” tricycles who charge as high as P100 for a less than two-kilometer distance ride.

Some further argued that since gasoline costs are already dropping, there is no need to raise tricycle fares.

“Bumababa naman na ang petrolyo, ano pang pangangailangan dito. Mahal na kayo maningil noon pa. Ilegal nga pagpapabayad niyo ng P15 minsan P20 pa,” anothe resident stated.

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