Tuesday, May 02, 2006



they want to self-regulate. the Integrated Metro Manila Bus Operators Association (IMBOA), wants the government to de-regulate the fares of busses to help them survive the skyrocket movement of fuel prices.

The meat of their cause focuses on this: the fuel industry of the Philippines is deregulated so that the major fuel providers can adjust their prices to protect themselves from the volatile international oil market. IMBOA argues that the same should be true with bus fares because 30 to 40 percent of a bus operator’s expenses are fuel based.

Quotable quote:

“The oil industry is deregulated, but we, who are operating under it are a regulated industry.”
–Claire dela Fuente, IMBOA President

they make sense, but then we need to dig deeper, a pros cons list is in order:


survival. less bus firms will fold up and die when bus fares are deregulated. They can adjust prices according to the current price of fuel and keep their profits steady. The more bus firms that survive, the more busses we have, the more happy the commuting public will be.

power of choice. with deregulation comes the price war. Some busses will charge less while others will charge premium rates. Some busses will be crappy, others will be more well kept. The riding public will be given a choice and this is good. The only hitch here is that some busses will have the gal to charge premium rates despite dilapidated, air polluting, insect infested, funny smelling busses.


anger. on both the side of the passengers and the bus Kunduktor. Passengers who get to ride the more expensive busses will complain about the fare, Kunduktor’s will then say:

a: “Kung ayaw mo mag bayad e di sa iba ka sumakay!”
b: “Hindi naman ako ang nagsabi na ganito ang singil namin, ang management!”

from here, passenger and Kunduktor will now be tied in a heated circular, tit-for-tat argument. some passengers might join in and gang up on the poor bus collector, other passengers may just opt to go down and seek another ride.

confusion. Fuel prices change from day to day; imagine deregulated fares changing in the same manner based on the local prices of gas/diesel. This is not good. The poor will be torn with the frequent adjustments which will be quicker to increase than to decrease.

There is a reason why our oil industry is deregulated: the price of oil in any country must be defined by FREE market forces and it must not be artificially influenced via subsidies or the like. Should the same train of thought be applied to the transport industry? Is fare deregulation the answer to the cash problems of our bus operators vis-à-vis the price of fuel. I don’t really know.

I remember riding a jeep one day; it was the first morning of the newly implemented P7.50 minimum fare. I paid the driver and he said:

“Wag muna.”

It took close to a full month before everyone followed the new minimum fare for PUJ’s. Some drivers refused to immediately pass on this new burden to their passengers, some of which refused to pay the correct amount unless the driver had the new tariff matrix posted in his/her jeep. It took a while for everyone to get used to it; what of deregulated bus fares? I feel that it will take a long struggle before everyone gets to accept this new rule. Maybe someone can research on how it is done in other countries. Honestly, I’d be dead interested to know how it is implemented, that is, if it ever exists.
One thing is certain though, all sides must be heard before anything is set in stone. The more planning involved the more chances of success. lets regulate.

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