EVEN with the approval and the subsequent fulfillment of requirements needed for the new fare rate in Laoag City, Sangguniang Panlungsod secretary Enrico Aurelio said the fare rate increase would only be enforceable after tricycle and calesa drivers have secured their respective fare guides.
The new fare rate passed by the city council last year increases basic fare from P7 to P8.
However, no tricycle or calesa driver has secured a fare guide, making the current fare rate in the city to remain at pre-increase levels.
According to Aurelio, the problem may be due to drivers and kutseros’ inability to pay the P620 to claim the fare guide.
Originally, the approved ordinance states that fare increase applications would be charged with P150 for filing fee, P150 for fare adjustment fee and P10 legal research fee, for a total of P310.
But since the said fees were not charged during the 2005 fare increase, the council has agreed for the said fees to be collected in the current fare rate increase, thus jacking the total fees to be paid to P620.
Earlier, as the fare increase ordinance was being reviewed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, tricycle associations in the city submitted a petition withdrawing their earlier application for a fare increase and choosing instead for the fare rate to stay at P7 to avoid paying the P620 fees.
With this petition, Aurelio said it would be up to the council’s transportation committee whether it would act on it considering that the fare increase ordinance had been approved and is now enforceable.
Reacting to this, Councilor Primo Jay S. Ramos, transportation committee chair, stressed that the fare increase ordinance had already been approved and thus should be followed.
He also clarified that the petition withdrawing the fare increase application would no longer affect the approved ordinance and his committee would again study the new petition.
Meanwhile, Mayor Michael V. Fariñas stated that the filing fee should be paid by the driver’s association one time only and the fare adjustment and legal research fees to be paid by individual drivers or operators.
He further explained that the ordinance did not specify whether the application or petition for filing fee would be paid by every tricycle franchise or not as he added that the petitioner should be the only one to pay for the P150 filing fee.
In the meantime, the regular fare of P7 would remain until all problems regarding the new fare increase ordinance are resolved.
Dominic B. dela Cruz