Traveling and going on family vacations has many positive benefits especially for kids, but it requires careful planning and budgeting — taking a trip isn’t cheap, especially when it involves plane rides. If you have school-age kids, however, booking that dream vacation may just become a reality. President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law Republic Act 11314 or the Student Fare Discount Act, which requires a 20% discount on all public transportation fares for students.
How does it differ from the discount given when riding public utility vehicles? Currently, students already get discounted fares when riding jeepneys, buses, UV Express vehicles, taxis, and transport network vehicle services like Grab. But with this new law, they’ll also enjoy discounts for rides in trains (MRT, LRT, and PNR), ships, and planes!
The law covers students in elementary, high school, and college, as well as those enrolled in technical-vocational courses. The discount will be available during the entire period while the student is enrolled, including weekends and holidays. To avail of the reduced rate, you simply need to present a valid school ID or current validated enrollment form upon payment.
Those enrolled in post-graduate studies and informal, short-term courses like dancing, swimming, music, and driving lessons, as well as seminar-type courses are not covered by the law.
School service, shuttle service, tourist service, and any similar service covered by contract, charter agreement, and with a valid franchise from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) are also not covered by the law.
Excited to book plane tickets? According to the Official Gazette, it looks like the discount privilege is only applicable to domestic travels, so international flights will likely not be covered. The discount will also only be applied to your ticket’s base fare and it cannot be combined with any other promos.
Students who will go abroad by plane or ship for education, trainings, or competitions though will be exempted from paying travel tax, according to Rappler. They just need to show travel authorities a document proving that they are traveling for the said purposes.
The new law can be a big help for families, especially because the cost of education is continuously on the rise. It also presents more opportunities for the whole family to spend more quality time together. The only question now is whether the law will be implemented properly.
Land, water, and air transportation utilities that refuse to grant discounts to students will be penalized, including the suspension of their driver’s license for up to three years. They can also be fined anywhere between Php5,000 and Php150,000. (Read more about your rights as a passenger here.)
The Senate version of the law was authored by Sen. Bam Aquino, co-authored by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, and sponsored by Senator Sonny Angara and Grace Poe. The counterpart in the House was sponsored by representatives Cesar Sarmiento, Alfred Vargas, Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, Winnie Castelo, Dennis Laogan, Ron Salo, Eric Olivarez, Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Frederick Siao, and John Marvin Nieto.