MRT, LRT fare hike a 'bitter pill to swallow' – Palace
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang Palace asked the public to bear with the government regarding the fare hikes for both the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 and Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1 and 2.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said on Wednesday, July 24, the hikes, like the increase in the Social Security System (SSS) contributions, are beneficial in the long run.
"These are bitter pills to swallow, but...these are the things that we are asking everyone. Anyway, at the end of the day, it will be the citizens who would be benefiting from this," he told reporters.
During his 4th State of the Nation Address last Monday, President Benigno Aquino III mentioned how the government is shouldering P25 of the cost of each trip made by passengers using the LRT, and P45 using the MRT.
Aquino also said the subsidy – which is shouldered by every Filipino, including those from the Visayas and Mindanao who "not once have stepped onto the LRT or MRT" – could be used for other social services.
"Perhaps it is only reasonable for us to move the fares of the MRT and LRT closer to the fares of air-conditioned buses so that the government subsidy for the MRT and LRT can be used for other social services," Aquino added.
The President, Lacierda said, is already dealing with these problems so as not to pass them on to the next administration.
Lacierda also assured everyone of a public consultation before implementing the fare hikes.
"Yes, you can be assured of a transparent, real public consultation, and [the Department of Transportation and Communications] will inform the public, all the stakeholders. It’s going to be a public consultation," he said.
The DOTC is currently studying the rates of both MRT and LRT. A P10 fare hike is scheduled to be implemented in tranches for both trains this year until 2014.
Aside from the fare hikes, he also said they already urged the DOTC and the managements of both LRT and MRT to improve the standard of service in the rail systems. – Jee Geronimo/Rappler.com