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Additional fare hike eyed for LRT-1

Ayala-MPIC unit eyes takeover next month
/ 12:38 AM August 04, 2015

The private-sector winner of a project to expand and operate the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 is in talks with the government on a potential increase in train fares ahead of its planned takeover next month.

Light Rail Manila Consortium, led by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) and Ayala Corp., said they were in the process of informing the government of a plan to assume operations of the LRT-1 by September, Metro Pacific president Jose. Ma. K. Lim told reporters yesterday.

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He added that among the issues that still needed to be taken up was the existing train fares of LRT-1, which needed to go up to meet the requirements under the contract they signed.

“The existing rail tariff is about 90 percent of what is committed under the concession agreement,” Lim said.

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This means the government, through the Department of Transportation and Communications, would need to implement another fare increase or compensate Light Rail Manila for the difference.

Fares increases tend to be controversial moves given the impact these have on the commuting public. The fare adjustment for LRT-1, LRT-2 and Metro Rail Transit Line 3, approved as early as 2011, took the form of an P11 plus P1 formula and was implemented last Jan. 4. This means a base fare of P11 plus P1 for every kilometer traveled for the Light Rail Transit Line 1 and Line 2 and the Metro Rail Transit Line 3, which serve a combined one million passengers a day.

In the case of MRT-3, the maximum fare a passenger will pay for the full 17-kilometer stretch from North Avenue station to Taft station is P28, or about double the previous cap. The maximum LRT-1 fare rose to P30 for so-called single journey; the maximum figure is P25 for the smaller LRT-2.

“[DOTC] increased it to what had been approved in previous public hearings but the number implemented is still short by about 10 percent of what was agreed upon,” Lim said.

Last Oct. 2, 2014, Light Rail Manila signed together with the DOTC and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) a 32-year concession agreement for the P65-billion  LRT-1 Cavite extension and operations and maintenance project.

It was formally awarded the project by the DOTC and LRTA following the submission of a lone bid with a premium of P9.35 billion.

The consortium will operate and maintain the existing LRT Line 1 and construct an 11.7-km extension from the present end-point in Baclaran to the Niog area in Bacoor, Cavite. Light Rail Manila will invest P46 billion in the project. The extended rail line should help ease the worsening traffic conditions in the Parañaque-Las Piñas-Cavite corridor.

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TAGS: Business, fare increase, light rail transit, public transport
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