Slap and Snap

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Back in Filipino Voices, I made a small proposal for the public transport sector to just jack up fares as much as what could be justified with statistics over the medium-term.  I’d rather have the sampal-sa-mukha big kahuna fare increase than suffer from pitik-sa-tenga incremental fare increases.

A very recent Inquirer.net update has the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) seeking another P1.50 fare increase and a government ban on all price hikes.  I can understand a government moratorium against price hikes, but another incremental fare increase?  Let’s weigh in PISTON’s reasons for the fare increase:

  • The latest increase to the minimum jeepney fare is “useless” because of the rising costs of diesel.
  • The IBON Foundation released a report that oil companies have been overpricing their fuel products by as much as P12 a liter.

I think that I couldn’t be blamed if the public transport sector is behaving with the same cartel-like qualities of the big oil companies.  I find it odd, if not intriguing, that the transport sector did not anticipate this and call for a P10 minimum fare for jeepneys, instead of settling for P8.50.  Had the transport sector banked on the need for a set fare – no matter how expensive it is – to mitigate the rising prices of fuel in the world market, there would be no need for more transport hikes.

If the anticipated cost of fare given the trends in the market would cost, say, a P25 minimum, then I think that the transport sector should just say so.  We commuters can’t do anything about it anyway; we are helpless and privy to the one-up game played by oil companies and the transport sector.  Economic burdens, unlike economic benefits, don’t trickle down.  Let’s go over it:

  • The transport sector should anticipate and extrapolate the trend of fuel price increases for the medium term.
  • Have one big fare hike that mitigates and anticipates the highest calculable peak of this trend.
  • Call the media and say that classic punchline, “Sana maintindihan kami ng mga tao.”

I think that it’s necessary for the transport sector to stop this hullaballoo about regular incremental fare hikes and just go for broke.  I’d rather have the sampal-sa-mukha fare increase than these weekly pitik-sa-tenga increases.  Although I really have the hunch that the public transport sector is turning into a social services cartel.

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