By ADELA DEYAEN WAYAS
BAGUIO CITY — Councilor Elmer Datuin called on the Department of Transportation (DOTC) and Communication and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to clarify student fare discounts in public utility jitneys (PUJs).
During the council meeting last December 13 on Monday Datuin said there are jeepney drivers posting “student discount except Saturdays and Sundays” inside their vehicles in spite of the fare matrix certification issued by the Department of Transportation (DOTC) and Communication and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) stating the students’ discounts on “school days.”
He wants the jeepney drivers and operators to be reminded that there are students having classes on Saturdays and Sundays especially in Colleges and Universities. He also said that elementary pupils even have make-up classes in lieu of typhoons and other situations and event. The councilor reiterated the DOTC and the LTFRB should issue a clarification to avoid interpretations on the term “school days” and not to create any problem between the students and the jeepney drivers.
He added the students should be given the right discount which they could avail on the days mandated by the law. Datuin said the discount on fares of the students would be a help to ease the burden of the parents on the education of their children.
Jeepney drivers claimed during an earlier dialogue with the DOTC that their actions were based on the agency’s memorandum circular.
Celina Claver officer-in-charge of the Office of the Regional Director-DOTC, in an interview said drivers not implementing student fare discounts during Saturdays and Sundays have no basis. She said that there were no MC that superceding the current fare discounts.
The drivers, however, have the right to ask the passenger of a proof that she or he has a class on these days, Claver explained. She added that to prove if the passenger is a student and has a class to attend the driver can investigate by asking the student’s schedule and identification card or any confirmation given by the school. They have the right to deny the student discount Claver said if the passenger can not show any document that can prove she or he has class scheduled.
Claver said refusal to grant students’ discounts is tantamount to overcharging. She said upon complaint the driver will be summoned to hear both sides of the case then settle it if possible. The driver will be penalized if proven to have violated the fare discount circular.
“We encourage commuters to report to us drivers violating laws mandated by the DOTC and LTFRB,” Claver said. She said without any complaint they can do nothing about the matter. # nordis.net