Up to P3 Ceres bus fare increase ‘necessary’

VALLACAR Transit Inc. (VTI), operator of Ceres Liner buses, said it is necessary to implement a fare increase of up to P3 after the huge spike in the prices of petroleum products since last year hugely affected its operations.

Starting last week, the bus firm increased the fair ranging from P1 to P3 depending on the route or the distance within Negros Occidental.

This means that passengers traveling to nearby localities of Bacolod will incur additional fare of P1 while those in “extreme” areas will have to pay up to P3 more.

Jesideth Marquez-Seballos, legal and media relations manager of VTI, yesterday said that prices of fuel, especially gasoline, have been increasing successively, but it is just now that the company has decided to impose a fare increase.

Marquez-Seballos pointed out that the adjustment does not go beyond the fare matrix prescribed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The LTFRB has issued the fare matrix on December 15, 2008 thus, the company has been following it for about a decade already, she added.

“We are assuring the public that the increase is within what is allowed,” Marquez-Seballos said, adding that “we appeal for the understanding of the general riding public as we continue to provide them the best service.”

They have not yet received any negative feedback or complaint against the said fare increase, she said.

Marquez-Seballos added that she doubts the prices of fuel will decrease especially with the implementation of the tax reform package, but they are ready to make necessary downward adjustments if there are corresponding movements in fuel costs.

Bacolod City Councilor Dindo Ramos, chairperson of committee on transportation, said that Vallacar Transit cannot implement the fare increase without an approval from the LTFRB.

“If they failed to get an approval from the LTFRB, they are unauthorized to implement a fare increase. They should file a petition for fare adjustment,” he said.

The councilor added that he will inquire with the LTFRB to determine if Vallacar Transit is allowed to implement a fare increase without the agency’s approval.

He said he will also coordinate with Vallacar Transit to know their legal basis on the implementation of the fare increase.