Malacañang: MRT, LRT price hikes are ‘reasonable’
MANILA, Philippines – Is the scheduled price hike of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) insensitive? Malacañang said it's “reasonable.”
On Monday, December 22, Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said the Palace hopes the public will understand the need to make the fares “reasonable and just,” adding the President makes decisions “based on what is right and what is good for the majority." He added that Aquino does not make "just the politically expedient decisions.”
“The President also does not want to pass off problems to the next administration that could be addressed,” Coloma said.
The adjustment, according to him, is "just" because it would be closer to the fares charged by air-conditioned buses.
The secretary’s statements come two days after the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) announced the approval of a fare hike for the 3 major train lines in Metro Manila, following years of deferment.
These are as follows:
- LRT1 (Monumento to Baclaran): P30 ($0.67) for single journey tickets and P29 for stored value tickets, from the current P20 ($0.45)
- LRT2 (Recto to Santolan): P25 ($0.56) for single journey tickets and P24 ($0.54) for stored value tickets, from the current P15 ($0.33)
- MRT3 (North Avenue to Taft Avenue): P28 ($0.63) for single journey and stored value tickets, from the current P15 ($0.33)
According to the DOTC, the last fare increase for LRT1 was in 2003, while fares have never been increased for LRT2. For MRT3, the fares were even lowered.
Operations, service, fares
Malacañang also responded to Senator Grace Poe, who called the fare hike “insensitive.” Poe, who led Senate hearings on the state of the MRT, insisted government is “obligated to maintain the subsidy until the system’s services and safety are upgraded.”
Coloma argued, however, that the government is continuing to work on the operational needs of the MRT and the LRT, adding there are “concrete measures to address the service issues of LRT/MRT.”
“It must be that while the quality of the service is being addressed, the fare issue should also be addressed. Because as long as this issue is not addressed, then the more we’re not addressing what needs to be done,” he said. – Rappler.com