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Jeep drivers cry unfair competition vs bus lines
Emir Gamis, Inquirer News Service (19 Aug 2004 Updated 21:14:31 Mla time)

PHILIPPINES: A competition between buses and jeepneys in Sorsogon province is brewing, with buses charging lower fare than jeepneys to lure more passengers.

Jeepney operators and drivers here are complaining. The Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Associations Inc. (Fejoda) filed a complaint at the regional office of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Legazpi City, saying buses plying Legazpi, Sorsogon, Bulan and Matnog were not charging the correct fare.

Ding Bobis, head of the Sorsogon Provincial Transport Alliance (Porta), said four bus lines charge passengers lower than the amounts punched in their tickets.

Bobis said the LTFRB had arranged a meeting between jeepney and bus operators on July 30 but no memorandum of agreement between the groups had been signed.

"The MOA is supposed to enforce the charging of the correct fare rate, but they (bus operators) are not following it until now. Pity some 3,000 jeepney drivers in Sorsogon," Bobis said.

But lawyer Darius Almojuela of Queens Express said the jeepney operators and drivers have no "personality to file the complaint" since "jeepneys are of a different classification from buses."

The approved bus fare rate is P6 for the first 5 km and P1.10 for the succeeding km and P5.50 for jeepneys for the first 4 kilometers and P1 for succeeding kilometers.

For 24 kilometers, the buses charge P15, P11 less than the correct fare of P26, Bobis said.

From Legazpi to Sorsogon and vice versa, buses are supposed to charge P68.50, while jeepneys charge P55.50 for Daraga-Sorsogon route.

Fejoda said its members charge the correct rate based on their fare matrix.

Bobis said they have been urging the LTFRB to act on their complaint.

"I was told that they will send us a notice for another hearing but they've not given us any date," he said.

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