The LTO has no plans of deferring the implementation date of the maximum prescribed rates that driving schools must charge its students. Calls from driving school associations have asked the Land Transportation Office to consider implementing the new rates for a later date, but Chief Jay Art Tugade emphasized that there will be no extension and that the rates must be applied to start April 15, 2023.
LTO stands firm on new driving school rates to be implemented this month
Just a week ago, it was announced under Memorandum Circular JMT-2023-2390 that driving schools’ fee matrices will be guided by new prices by mid-month. Naturally, those who own and operate driving schools were bound to air out their sentiments and disagreement. They’ve called for dialogues between themselves and the Land Transportation Office but it seems that the agency is steadfast in its ruling for a mid-April implementation. This move follows public clamor for more affordable rates in acquiring a driver’s license in the Philippines.
“The LTO stands firm with the maximum rates it has prescribed for driving schools. The said price ceiling has undergone sufficient consultation and an in-depth cost analysis by the TWG. In coming up with these rates, it was the objective of the LTO to lower the exorbitant fees charged by some driving schools but at the same time, to not to deprive the accredited driving school a reasonable rate of return on their investment,” Tugade pointed out.
“Malabo na nating ipagpaliban pa ang implementasyon ng bagong driving school rates. Hindi pupuwedeng maging bingi ang LTO sa mga panawagan ng higit na nakararami laban sa napakamahal na bayarin sa mga driving school. Panahon na para maging abot-kaya sa publiko ang pagkuha ng driver’s license nang hindi nakokompromiso ang kalidad ng pagkatuto ng mga aplikante [It’s unlikely that we will delay the implementation of new driving school rates. The LTO cannot turn a dear ear to the public against expensive rates. it’s time that driver’s licenses become more affordable without compromising driver education],” he likewise emphasized.
“Sadya nating itinulak ang pinamurang halaga ng driving school courses upang mabigyan ng pagkakataon ang maraming nais na magkaroon ng driver’s license para sa kanilang hanapbuhay pero hindi lang maipursige dahil sa mataas na singilin sa ngayon [We are purposely pushing for more affordable driving school courses to give a chance to the many who want to acquire a driver’s license for their livelihood but can’t do so because of the high prices],” Tugade later added.
The Chief explained that the creation of Memorandum Circular JMT-2023-2390 came after a series of consultations with driving schools. “In fact, the expenditure items and the costs used by the TWG (technical working group) in its cost analysis to arrive at the prescribed maximum rates came from the driving schools. Contrary to the allegations that their inputs were disregarded or not considered by the LTO, the price of the TDC was increased based on their feedback,” he said.
Another facet that was looked into is the sufficiency of an 8-hour Practical Driving Course. The said course was deemed effective since its implementation in August 2020, with no complaints being received by the agency about its use. “The determination of whether the duration of 8 hours is sufficient to produce a qualified driver ultimately falls within the competence of the LTO since the ability of an applicant to drive safely is assessed during the practical examination administered by LTO driving skill raters,” the Chief said.
Ultimately, Tugade had this to say: “They must work within the allowable rates when offering value-added services without resorting to charging additional fees.”
We can most likely expect more resistance and calls for a delay in the following days and weeks, but with the LTO‘s many campaigns to become a better public-serving agency, it’s more likely that they will not delay this. But do you agree with this plan? Is it going to make owning and managing a driving school more difficult, and will it result in better and safer drivers? The latter is the greatest question to be answered, after all, right?