MANILA -- The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Thursday approved a provisional fare hike of PHP1 for public utility buses amid the recent oil price increases.

The decision comes a day after the LTFRB has approved a PHP10 minimum jeepney fare, or a PHP2 increase from PHP8 to PHP10.

In its decision Thursday, the LTFRB said ordinary bus fares will increase from PHP10 to PHP11 and air-conditioned buses from PHP12 to PHP13 for the first five kilometers in Metro Manila.

The rate for the succeeding kilometers will remain at PHP1.85 for ordinary buses and PHP 2.20 for air-conditioned buses.

For provincial buses, the fare for ordinary buses remains at PHP9 for the first five kilometers while the rate for the succeeding kilometer will increase by 15 centavos from PHP1.40 to PHP1.55

There will also be an increase of 15 centavos for every kilometer for the following air-conditioned buses:

Regular aircon bus -- PHP1.60/km to PHP1.75/km

Deluxe aircon bus -- PHP1.70/km to PHP1.85/km

Super deluxe aircon bus -- PHP1.80/km to PHP1.95/km

Luxury aircon bus -- PHP2.25/km to PHP2.40/km

“The Board is not insensitive to the current economic situation of the country brought about by an escalating inflation rate, devaluation of the Philippine currency and continued increase of oil prices in the world market,” the LTFRB said in its decision, signed by Chairman Martin Delgra III and Board Members Ronaldo Corpus and Aileen Lizada.

The Board noted that the average price of diesel in the country has increased to around PHP47 this year from PHP35 when it last issued an order for a fare increase in 2011.

The year-on-year inflation rate in the country has increased from 2.9 percent in 2017 to 6.7 percent in September this year, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The LTFRB has reminded bus operators that students, senior citizens and persons with disabilities are entitled to a 20 percent fare discount.

The petition for the fare increases was filed by the Southern Luzon Bus Operators Association, Nagkakaisang Samahan ng Nangangasiwa ng Panlalawigang Bus sa Pilipinas, and Samahang Transport Operators ng Pilipinas, citing fuel price hikes and high costs of acquiring new buses in compliance with the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.

The bus fare hikes will become effective 15 days after publication in a newspaper of general and/or local circulation. (PNA)