When I was old enough to commute, I recall having to pay P1.50 to P2 depending on the distance. Sensible enough since I could buy candies and other goodies with my one peso. My mother complained about it. The usual bragging of old people, recalling how cheap products were during their time. Again, I did not care since I had P10 all for myself plus my packed baon.
My friend from college recalled that the UP Ikot ride at the University of the Philippines (UP) pegged at P1.25 when she entered as a freshman. During my time we would pay P2.25, not that bad considering we had to pay P2.75 or more if we set off outside the university.
Just recently, the minimum jeepney fare was raised to P5.50. I swallowed it like a bitter pill. Now that I am working hard for every peso I earn, the news did not sound good to me. In fact, it was not sound at all.
Yesterday, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) granted the petition of jeepney operators to raise the minimum fare to P7.50. Press secretary (read: apologist) Ignacio Bunye may argue that the P2 increase only means an additional two sms messages. How utterly snobbish and apathetic could you get? Oh, I see, the government does not care about people without cellphones. PGMA has long proven that. What more could we expect from officials who do not even get their upturned noses smudged with the filth from daily commuting?
I go back to my vision of a jeepney ride. Hair swiftly flowing. Clothes flapping incessantly. Smoke stinging my eyes.
Somehow, the ride does not feel so free anymore.