Progressive groups question LRT fare hike: Didn’t President defer its implementation?
MANILA, Philippines — At least two progressive groups questioned the impending fare hikes for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2, asking why the increase is pushing through when President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. himself ordered its deferral.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Monday asked whether President Marcos has already “flip-flopped” on the issue given that last April 2023, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said the Chief Executive asked that the fare increase be deferred.
Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said last April 11 that the department have approved a P2.29 fare hike for the boarding rates of LRT Lines 1 and 2, and a P0.21 hike to the per distance fare, but Marcos had it postponed pending a thorough study on the move’s economic impact.
However, DOTr announced earlier that fare hikes would start by August 2.
“Why the rush to impose a fare hike for LRT? Why implement the fare hike when the President said the increase should be deferred? Does this mean the president has flip flopped on the issue?” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes asked.
“So the official policy is really to raise fares and burden the people. That much is clear now. The policy is truly insensitive to the plight of the Filipino commuters. Mr. Marcos should at least speak out since the issue has already reached his office,” he added.
According to Reyes, they have requested for a copy of the economic study and the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) opinion on the matter, but they have not received any.
“The DoTr has not provided us by email or by any electronic means its resolution on the fare hike. We have not been furnished a copy of the NEDA opinion on the fair hike. Where are the commuters in all of this? It seems they are not important or have no real say,” he noted.
ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro meanwhile warned that commuters are still affected by the spike in the prices of goods at the latter end of 2022 and early 2023, noting that this fare hike would burden them further.
“Commuters are still reeling from the high prices of goods and services due to inflation, and they do not even feel that inflation is slowing down with their low wages. The proposed fare hike for LRT 1 and 2 will only add to their burden,” Castro said in a separate statement.
“We should prioritize the welfare of the people, especially in these difficult times. The government should provide adequate subsidies to ensure that the fare remains affordable for the commuting public,” she added.
LRT-1 currently runs from Roosevelt Station near Muñoz Avenue and Congressional Avenue in Quezon City, all the way to the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City, and then toward Baclaran Station in Pasay City, directly above Rizal Avenue and Taft Avenue.
LRT-2 meanwhile starts from Recto Station in Manila — near LRT-1’s Doroteo Jose Station, towards Cubao in Quezon City and eventually to the Antipolo City’s Masinag area. Both lines are crucial to a lot of students and workers, especially since several schools are found near the stations.
Currently, for LRT-1 commuters using stored value cards or cards that can be reused and reloaded, the base fare is P11, with the cheapest trip — Baclaran Station to EDSA — costing a commuter P12. For single-journey card users, the cheapest available ticket is P15.
While the minimum value of single journey tickets would remain at P15 if the fare hikes were implemented, the base fare would be P13.29, and the distance fare would go up to P1.21 per kilometer. This means that the minimum cost of a trip within LRT-1 would be P15, and the maximum at P35.
Similarly, for LRT-2, the shortest trip would now cost P14 on the stored value tickets, while the maximum fare would be P33. Single-journey users can purchase tickets with a minimum fare of P15 and a maximum of P35.
This means a trip from Recto Station to Legarda would cost P14 on the stored value ticket — up from P12, while a stored value trip from Recto to Masinag in Antipolo would cost P33, from just P28 if the fare adjustments are implemented.
Castro said the government should prioritize people’s needs, and ensure that public transportation modes be made accessible for everyone.
“We call on the government to prioritize the needs of the people, especially the poor and marginalized sectors. We cannot allow public transportation to become a luxury that only a few can afford,” she noted.