Gov't wants to defer MRT, LRT fare hike
MANILA, Philippines – The Aquino administration is considering deferring the planned fare increase for the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT 3) and Light Rail Transit lines 1 and 2 (LRT 1 and 2) so as not to burden consumers who are reeling from fuel and electricity price hikes.
"Obviously, you got to consider the condition of the time," Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said, referring to the record-high rate hike implemented by the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) in December, but was stopped by the Supreme Court.
“You have to be sensitive to people’s lives too. You just can’t be indifferent,” he added.
Abaya said the fare hike will be discussed by the economic development cluster.
In December, the Department of Transportation and Communications conducted public consultations on the proposed fare hike, which was met with strong opposition from militant and consumer groups.
The Light Rail Transit Authority approved in June a fare increase of P10 for the 3 railway systems in Metro Manila.
The increase, which was also endorsed by President Benigno Aquino III in his 4th State of the Nation Address, was eyed to be implemented on staggered basis: P5 in 2013, and another P5 this year. The 2013 tranche was pushed back because of the public consultations.
(READ: Abaya: P5 fare hike for MRT-3)
If finally imposed, the increase will be the first in a decade.
Aquino said the fare hike is needed to cut government subsidies for the train lines. This will free up more funds that may be used for the maintenance of the railway systems, and for government social services.
The current fare at MRT, which runs along EDSA from Taft Avenue in Pasay City to North Avenue in Quezon City, is at a maximum of P15 per passenger.
Passengers taking LRT 1 (from Baclaran in Parañaque City to Balintawak in Quezon City) are charged up to P20, while those riding LRT 2 (from Recto in Manila to Santolan in Pasig) are charged up to P15.
The proposed fare increase will bring the endpoint-to-endpoint fares at MRT to P28, LRT 1 to P29, and LRT 2 to P24. – Rappler.com