DOTC: No fare hike yet for LRT, MRT
MANILA, Philippines – The government has yet to set the amount and schedule of the fare increase for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines 1 and 2 and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 3.
The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and the MRT 3 have been seeking a fare increase since 2010 to improve their facilities and services.
No date has been set yet for the implementation of the fare hike since the two public consultations held late last year, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said Wednesday, July 9.
The DOTC chief issued the statement following reports that the awarding of the P65-billion ($1.50 billion*) LRT-1 Cavite extension project would result in the fare increase effective Friday, August 1.
The agency clarified that the proposed P11+1 ($0.28) fare increase for LRT 1, LRT 2, and MRT 3 is completely separate from the PPP project and is not dependent on it.
The bidding process was fully in accordance with law, and recent attempts to block its award are meant to deprive the riding public of better access to jobs and other opportunities in Metro Manila, Abaya reiterated.
The Light Rail Manila Consortium was the lone bidder for the public-private partnership (PPP) project and offered to pay the government P9.35 billion ($215.76 million) to undertake it. The consortium is led by Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, with a 55% stake, and Ayala Corporation, with 35%. Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd. holds the remaining 10%.
“We disagree with the assertion that this project does not need to be awarded yet. We cannot honestly say this to the riding public who have been waiting for this project for many years, those whose lives will be uplifted with the opportunities and quality of life that the project presents,” Abaya said.
DOTC also said that the department’s undersecretary, Rene Limcaoco, did not favor the lone bidder. Limcaoco's brother, Jose Teodoro, is working for the Ayala group.
“We categorically state that we followed the law in bidding this project out. We are confident in the steps we have taken, and we will defend our actions in any forum,” Abaya said. - Rappler.com
*($1 = P43.34)