Revilla opposes MRT-LRT fare hikeBy Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines—The fare hike of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems will not be a good gift to the people at the start of the new year, Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. said.
Congress has decided to lower the subsidies to the rail systems of Metro Manila which prompted the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to increase fares for operations and maintenance.
The fare hike, which is set to take effect 2013, would increase the maximum fare to P30 per passenger.
“As chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Services, I reiterate my strong opposition to the impending fare increase on the mass rail transit system in Metro Manila,” Revilla said in a statement.
“New year, new burden to the public. It doesn’t seem like a good gift to them for 2013,” Revilla added.
Passengers currently pay P20 on the LRT line 1 from Taft Avenue-Baclaran Station in Pasay City to Monumento-Edsa Station in Caloocan City while they pay P15 to travel the whole stretch of the MRT (from North Avenue-Edsa Station in Quezon City to Taft-Edsa Station in Pasay City) and the LRT line 2 (from Santolan Station in Marikina City to Recto Avenue in Manila).
Subsidies had reached as much as P7 billion a year, a figure that lawmakers from outside of the National Capital Region (NCR) found too much.
“Congressmen in other areas outside NCR 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,” former DoTC Secretary Manuel Roxas previously said.
Revilla however pointed out that it wasn’t just the residents of Metro Manila who benefit from the rail system.
“Many regular passengers of the trains are regular workers, employees, and small businessmen from various regions are striving to make a living in Metro Manila to support their families in the provinces,” Revilla said.
“There are also students who come to Metro Manila to study,” he added.
Revilla, who had previously supported the deferment of the implementation of the fare increase in 2012, reiterated his call for the government to not implement the fare hike.
“I am appealing to our national government to reconsider its decision to raise [train fares]. Next year is still not the time to burden anew the public,” Revilla said.