Group to ask SC to stop MRT, LRT fare hike
MANILA, Philippines – Leftist group Bayan Muna said it will go to the Supreme Court to stop the fare hikes of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) due to take effect on January 4. (READ: MRT, LRT fare hikes to take effect January 4)
“As it is, the best way to defer the MRT/LRT fare hike is for the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against it," Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares, House of Representatives senior deputy minority leader, said in a statement Thursday, December 25.
Fellow Bayan Representative Carlos Zarate will join him in the petition that will be filed as soon as the fare hikes take effect.
The leftist lawmakers argued that the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) did not follow due process, and no public hearing was held before the decision was made. (READ: Bayan Muna calls for holiday probe into MRT/LRT fare hike)
"We also fear that the P2 billion that the DOTC would be able to save by increasing the fares of the MRT and LRT would just be turned to pork barrel,” said Colmenares.
Zarate added: “Secretary Jun Abaya’s justification for hiking MRT 3 fares defeats the purpose of constructing mass transit systems which is to provide the public with cheap transportation services."
A ride on the MRT currently ranges from P10 to P15, while a ride on LRT-1 and LRT-2 costs from P12 to P15 and P20, respectively.
In DOTC's Department Order No. 2014-014, the uniform distance-based fare scheme for all 3 train lines – or an P11 ($0.25*) base fare plus P1 ($0.0223) per kilometer – was adopted.
Using the scheme's formula, approved by the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) back in 2011, the new maximum train fares 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)
"It's a tough decision, but it had to be made," DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a statement. "It's been several years since an increase was proposed." – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com