MRT, LRT fare hike to take effect in 2013—DoTCBy Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Metro Rail Transit’s fare hike will proceed in 2013, after Congress slashed rail subsidies in efforts to allocate more funds to the development of the Philippine countryside.
Outgoing Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas on Wednesday said the fare hike at the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) lines was supposed to take effect in 2012 but were pushed back to give commuters a reprieve from rising commodity costs.
“As you know, the DOTC [Department of Transportation and Communications] budget for 2012 was already cut to reduce subsidies for the LRT and MRT in anticipation of a fare hike,” Roxas said.
“But the President asked us to look for areas where we could save money just to keep fares at where they are,” Roxas said.
In an interview, he said several projects that would have resulted in better services to consumers had to be pushed back just to keep rates at current levels.
But in the 2013 budget, Roxas said Congress introduced fresh cuts to MRT subsidies that, in the past, reached P7 billion a year. Subsidies are needed because current fares do not reflect the real cost of transporting passengers on the Metro Manila trains.
“Congressmen in other areas outside NCR [National Capital Region] say that the MRT and LRT lines get too much in subsidies. They wanted the subsidies to be lower so they could divert more money to areas outside Metro Manila,” Roxas said.
Roxas, who sits as president of the ruling Liberal Party, declined to say when exactly the higher fares would take effect. He said he would leave the decision up to Jun Abaya, who replaces Roxas at the DoTC next month.
Both Abaya and Roxas were confirmed by the Commission on Appointments on Wednesday. Roxas will move to the Department of the Interior and Local Government next month to replace the late Jesse Robredo.
The new fares, approved by Roxas’ predecessor Jose “Ping” de Jesus, will increase maximum LRT and MRT fares to P30 per passenger.
This will bring the rate closer to fares on buses that travel the same routes. Currently, passengers are charged P15 each to travel from one end of the LRT line 2 (Recto, Manila, to Santolan, Marikina) and the MRT on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue from the Taft station in Pasay to North Avenue in Quezon City.
Meanwhile, it takes P20 to get from LRT line 1’s Baclaran station in Pasay to Roosevelt, in Quezon City.
Short URL: http://business.inquirer.net/?p=82878