Improve service first before LRT, MRT fare hike — Villafuerte | Inquirer News

Improve service first before LRT, MRT fare hike — Villafuerte

/ 07:26 PM July 03, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Rail operators in Metro Manila must provide better service first before even asking for an increase in fare rates, Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte said.

Villafuerte on Sunday questioned why operators of Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2 along with the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) are saying that the fare hikes are needed to maintain both systems.

According to the lawmaker, price increases can only be justified if the public notices an improvement in the service.


“Sabi nila, itataas raw yan (fares) para mas lalong ma-maintain ang serbisyo sa train lines.  Eh ako naman kasi, sabi ko, sana pagandahin nyo muna bago i-increase ang  pamasahe,” he said.


(They said they will increase fares so that they can maintain service on the train lines.  But for me, I hope they can improve on the service before increasing the rates.)

“So palagay ko naman na puwede naman pong i-consider ito na i-defer na muna iyon at hanapan ng pondo … ang point ko lang, sana huwag nilang sasabihin na kailangan ang increase dahil matagal nang hindi nag-increase. Pagandahin muna nila ‘yung serbisyo saka na lang siguro tayo mag increase. I mean, iyan lang po ang apila natin,” he added.

(So I think we can consider deferring these hikes and look for other sources of funds.  My point is, I hope they aren’t saying that they need a fare increase just because there have been no fare hikes for a long time.  Maybe they can improve their services and by then we can discuss hikes.  I mean, that’s our appeal.)

Villafuerte also hopes President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. or the Department of Transportation (DOTr) can defer the fare hikes — just like how Marcos deferred it the first time.

The lawmaker was referring to Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista’s announcement last April 11 that the department 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 deferred it pending a thorough study on the move’s economic impact.

READ: DOTr approves fare hikes for LRT lines 1 and 2 but defers implementation 


However, DOTr eventually announced last June 19 that the fare hikes would start by August 2.

“I am hoping against hope that, with almost one month and a half to go before train fares in Metro Manila are adjusted as scheduled, our transport officials will find it in their hearts to put back this plan anew — in the same way it was deferred last April on the President’s orders — on account of the high commodity prices that afflict our train commuters and the rest of the masa in their daily struggle to make both ends meet,” Villafuerte reiterated.

“Sa August 2 pa naman, baka sakaling ma-consider pa na ‘wag na munang i-increase. Kasi 20%-increase din yan eh, dati P1 per kilometer, ngayon magiging P1.21 na. So, kung sasabihin mo, dati P11 ang sakay, at ngayon magiging P13.29 na, so 20%-increase din yan. Hindi po biro ‘yun,” he added.

(The increase would take effect on August 2, maybe we can consider deferring it.  Because it is still a 20 percent increase; if before it was P1 per kilometer, now it’s P1.21. So, if you can ride at P11, now that would be P13.29, so a 20 percent increase is not a joke.)

This was not the first time that Villafuerte emphasized the need to consider how ordinary people can cope with a fare hike while prices of goods are also increasing.

Inflation has steadily gone down in recent times — four consecutive months including May 2023’s 6.1 percent — but it is still higher than the 5.4 percent recorded a year prior.

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“This is the last thing we expect our DOTr and LRTA officials to even think about, let alone carry out, at this time when no immediate relief for ordinary Filipinos seems in sight from the ever-increasing cost of living that continues to erode their purchasing power,” Villafuerte noted.

With reports from Bea Alicia Delariarte, trainee
TAGS: LRT, MRT 3, Train, Villafuerte

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