|Vehicles at Giáp Bát Bus Station. Authorities have warned firms unwilling to cut fares that their vehicle badges could be revoked. VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Fuel prices have fallen back to the pre-January level, but many transport firms still refuse to adjust their fares, according to authorities.
Trần Bảo Ngọc, Head of the Ministry of Transport's Transportation Department, estimated that fuel costs account for 30 to 40 per cent of transport firms' total costs.
As the firms raised fares to cover higher costs when fuel prices rose, it makes sense to require the firms to cut fares when prices fall.
Fare cuts take time because they involve administrative procedures. However, many firms use the time lag as an excuse for their slow reaction to falling fuel prices.
"Firms should not react too slowly to falling fuel prices. Fuel takes up 30 to 40 per cent of their total costs, but it has plunged in price, so any further delay in fare cut will be unacceptable," he said.
Ngọc urged transport firms to quickly submit new fare proposals to the local Departments of Transport for approval and announce the fares once approved.
He also said that his department would step up inspection in the short-term to ensure firms stick to their announced fares, preventing mere lip service.
"For firms which keep sitting tight amid falling fuel prices, the authorities will go so far as to revoke their vehicle badges," he added.
In a press conference in July, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyễn Xuân Sang underscored fuel as the key contributory factor in transport firms' cost structure.
He said 80 to 90 per cent of the firms lifted fares by about 15 per cent to cover higher costs when fuel prices were climbing, but not the other way around.
This is because the recent price falls were not large enough to incentivise firms to reverse course.
For this reason, the ministry has urged its agencies to inspect involuntary firms and request them to take action to slash fares.
The Ministry of Finance did likewise, asking relevant agencies to study transport fares and report their proposed fares to the ministry to develop suitable policies on price management.
The Prime Minister has requested ministries and agencies to keep a close watch on the situation to prevent opportunistic price rises and to keep inflation in check.
The PM also requested the ministries and agencies to assess the impact of falling fuel prices on firms' costs and call on firms to cut fares if possible. — VNS