Impending LRT fare hike opposed | Inquirer News

Impending LRT fare hike opposed

HIGHER FARE Commuters on LRT Line 1 and 2 will be paying higher fare starting Aug. 2. —NIñO JESUS ORBETA

HIGHER FARE Commuters on LRT Line 1 and 2 will be paying higher fare starting Aug. 2. —NIñO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines — Progressive groups and a lawmaker have called out the government over the fare hike to be implemented for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2 starting on Aug. 2, saying the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) approval of the increase was “sloppy and rushed.”

Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, who participated in the public hearing for the LRT fare hike petitions, also questioned why the DOTr had yet to publicly issue a resolution regarding the increase.


He called the fare hike “substantial” and a burden to “commuters still reeling from the current economic crisis.”


“In the case of LRT 2, the increase is not necessary because Congress already passed appropriations that include subsidies for the train line,” Reyes said, adding that they intend to exhaust all legal remedies to stop the fare hike.

“More importantly, we call on all commuters and taxpayers to vigorously oppose the LRT fare hike,” he said.

Starting Aug. 2, the minimum LRT boarding fare will increase by 20.8 percent to P13.29 from P11, while the additional fare per kilometer will rise by 29 percent to P1.29 from P1.

Bayan Muna executive vice president Carlos Zarate, on the other hand, urged the Supreme Court to fast-track the resolution of the 2015 case filed by their group along with other commuter organizations which questioned the legal basis for the fare increases implemented for the LRT lines and MRT 3 in 2014.

But the high tribunal earlier this year upheld the 2014 fare hikes for all three train systems, saying the then Department of Transportation and Communication “substantially complied with the notice and hearing requirements” contrary to the claims of petitioners.

ACT party list Rep. and House Deputy Minority Leader Rep. France Castro also urged the government to reconsider and look for alternative solutions to improve the quality of public transportation.


Additional burden

“The proposed fare hike for LRT 1 and 2 will only add to [the public’s] burden … 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 public,” she said.

Transportation Assistant Secretary for the railways sector Jorjette Aquino, however, defended the fare increase, saying it would make train services “more comfortable, accessible, safe and sustainable.”

Speaking at the Laging Handa public briefing on Tuesday, Aquino said the fare increase underwent due process that considered the need to maintain the quality and order of commuter rail services.

“The additional revenues [from the fare increases] will be set aside for maintenance, operating expenses and much- needed repairs of crucial rail systems and facilities. It is important to us that your daily commute is comfortable, safe and effective and we will continue to push for the improvement of services and the establishment of a progressive and better transportation system,” she said.

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According to her, Light Rail Manila Corp., the company that operates LRT 1, has the right to ask for fare hikes every two to four years.



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TAGS: Bayan, Department of Transportation, France Castro, LRT rate hike, Renato Reyes

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