The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has issued several memoranda and circulars with regards to the granting of discounts to a special group of people – senior citizens, persons with disabilities and students. Members of these groups of people, whether validated through appearance or through documentation, are given a 20% discount on the usual fare that they pay to means of public conveyance. It is a privilege that is accorded them by the LTFRB as recognition for their elevated status in the community.
To be really fair, students in this case are those who are taking up elementary to college level courses. Those who are taking up their masters, doctorates and other post graduate courses are not included and are thus not exempted from paying the regular fares. The thinking behind this is that they are productive citizens of the country – earning a good salary so they have to pay up just like the rest of us. Quite a great logic behind it if you come to think of it.
Obviously, some drivers complain that it takes a huge chunk of their profits away because majority of their passengers are students. Some even complain that other students do a great job of not paying them the requisite fare – doing what is commonly known as the 1-2-3. They grab a ride, sit near the vehicles’ access point and sometimes conveniently forget to pay the driver (intentionally, mind you) or just jump off as if nothing happened. For some drivers, these practices bring unintentional headaches – you got to feel for them because at times, we tend to forget that they also have mouths to feed.
This is probably one of the reasons why jeepneys in terminals collect the fare beforehand – so that there will be less instances of fare being not paid and the right student fare is exacted from the passengers. Less chance for shenanigans, better earnings for the drivers.
There have been other memoranda before that stated that students would only be accorded their privileges during the weekdays – since they usually only go to class on weekdays. But since there were some students who have taken Saturday classes due to their unique cases (some are working students, so you cannot blame them for taking weekend classes), there had been some clamor in the filed asking for re-consideration.
LTFRB has heard and realized such cases were legitimate and have thus ordered that students would be given the 20% discount on all days – including legal holidays and weekends. While it may be a small problem for the drivers, they really cannot argue because it is a directive that has been reviewed, analyzed and approved by the governing transportation board in the county. They also know that even if there is one complaint, they would be liable to serious fines and penalties which would be reflected on their records and which carry weight during their renewal of licenses.
The only thing that has to be considered here is that the implementation would have to be strictly monitored because there are cases wherein drivers would refuse accepting the discounted fares. They would insist on getting the full fare. Prompt and affirmative action regarding such cases should be employed so that the drivers would know that there is something behind the law. If they do not know any consequence being meted out (and being meted out in a public and highly penalizing manner, mind you) they might just continue shortchanging the students who are by virtue of their potentials, are accorded such privileges.