The Puerto Princesa City Council approved in its second reading the proposed minimum fare hike for tricycles. The legislation seeks to amend Sec. 1 of City Ordinance No. 931 where the Existing Rates of tricycle fare is stated.
Councilor Jimbo Maristela, Chairman of the Committee on Transportation, explained that his committee decided to combine the proposal to increasing the minimum fare for tricycles and Ordinance No. 198-2021, an ordinance to penalize overcharging of tricycle fares. This is to ensure strict compliance of public tricycle drivers to the fare matrix. Violators will be fines P1,000 for the First Offense, P2,000 for the Second Offense and P5,000 for the Third Offense.
“And repeated violation of Ordinance for more than three times shall be a ground for the cancellation of franchise by the CTFRB,” the Chairman of Committee on Transportation added.
Under the proposed trike fare hike, P2 will be added to the existing P10 minimum fare in tricycles in Puerto Princesa for the first two kilometers and P.50 to the current P1.50 for every succeeding kilometer.
The said ordinance which was first endorsed to the Council by the Committee on Transportation dated January 19, 2021 is anchored to the letter of Efnie Lusoc, president of Federation of Tricycle Operators and Drivers’ Association of Puerto Princesa City, Inc. (FTODAPPCI) requesting the City Tricycle Franchising and Regulatory Board (CTFRB) to review the tricycle fare matrix for a possible fare increase.
The Chairman of the Committee on Transportation explained that his committee conducted two public consultations dated March 18 and May 12, 2021 to discuss the fare hike. These were attended by representatives from the City Tourism Office, Student Government Organizations of universities in the city, public commuters, members of the media, the officers and members of CTFRB under the office of the City Vice Mayor, vendors from Old and New Market, and the president of PPA Federation.
Maristela further explained that the CTFRB approved the P12 minimum fare for the first two kilometers and P2 additional fare for every succeeding kilometer. And while there were no objections from FTODAPPCI members, his committee did not officially approve the proposed Ordinance in the committee level because Councilor Roy Ventura, guest during the meeting, made a proposal to increase the minimum fare to P15. Maristela explained to the attendees that if Ventura’s suggestion will be favored by the Council, the committee will need to again conduct two rounds of public consultation and seek the approval of the CTFRB.
ASKED FOR A FIXED RATE
Councilor Patrick Hagedorn then moved to have a fix rate for tricycles stating that the P2 increase per succeeding kilometer would only breed confusion between the driver and his passengers.
“Kasi unang-una, paano ko (passenger) malalaman na nasa ikatlong kilometro na ako?” he asked.
“Pwede itong maabuso ng mangilan-ngilan nating mga drayber natin dito. Sasabihin nilang ‘Tatlong kilometro na ang takbo natin.’ Ano ho ang pruweba natin? Paano natin malalaman, mayroon ho bang meter na katulad sa taxi natin? Wala ho. So, iniiwasan natin na baka po ito ay maabuso. Sana nga nag-fix rate na lang tayo,” he said.
Councilor Maristela explained that the said mechanism is not new because it has been implemented years ago; but Hagedorn insisted that “It’s high time to change it.”
By this, Maristela agreed. He said that, that issue will be resolved in the next meeting of the Committee on Transportation.
Councilor Ventura then explained how he came up with the P15 fare increase. He reiterated that P12 is not enough, given the current prices of fuel and motorcycle spare parts in Puerto Princesa City.
He added that the number of tricycle riders also decreased because of the limited areas that the tricycles are allowed to operate. This is due to the nationwide implementation of Trike Ban in national highways.
“Kaya po napag-isipan natin na one time big time, maging P15 [na] at hindi na po masusundan ‘yan after five years,” he said.
Ventura also added some changes in Section 1 of the Ordinance with regard to P12 minimum fare for each passenger for the first two kilometers. He suggested to change it to four kilometers and P1 increase for every succeeding kilometer.
He likewise added that if the area traversed by the tricycle driver will not reach the minimum two kilometers, the payment should be also adjusted and implement instead a fixed rate.
“Kasi sa totoo lang, wala namang tag-isang kilometro ang hinahatiran nila eh. Para po makasuporta rin tayo sa mga mananakay,” he exclaimed.
“And then, may I propose na pag-aralan din ng Komite, ng Konsehong ito na i-require natin ang bawat franchisee, ang mga operator na maglagay ng metro. Sa taripa, i-require silang mag-metro para wala nang dayaan. Mayroon naman pong nabibiling metro riyan, de-kable lang naman ‘yan, ilalagay mo doon sa harap ng gulong ng tricycle para masabi nating walang lamangan,” he said.
The Chairman of the Committee on Transportation welcomed all of their suggestions and comments but he requested to them to approve first the P12 fare increase, and eventually deal with their suggestions.
The said proposed Ordinance is now calendared for third reading for its final approval.
Maristela then addressed the appeal of drivers to lower oil prices in the city. He explained that while the City Government has no power over oil prices because of the Oil Deregulation Law, there is an alternate solution.
“The City Governemt plans to put up our own depot to compete with these oil companies [operating] in the City. This is a way [of] lowering of the prices of gasoline in the City. ” Maristela added.