Train fares may rise in Sept.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) will hold public consultations for the widely contested fare hikes at Metro Manila’s elevated railways by the third or fourth week of August, Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said on Monday.
As the hearings would be held later this month, any rate increase would likely happen toward the end of September at the earliest instead of the original plan to implement a hike by August, an official of the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) said separately.
The DOTC has been hoping to implement the long-delayed rate hike at the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2 and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3.
The increase, Abaya earlier said, would range from P7 to P10 “on the average” to be split over two years.
A public hearing is crucial in determining the final extent of the fare hike and its timing, said Hernando Cabrera, board secretary of the LRTA.
“After the public hearing, the results will be collated and analyzed,” he said, noting that the LRTA board and DOTC would have to decide on the results, including the final fare matrix. He added that the fare hike would take effect 15 days after publication of the final rates.
“Any increase could happen by September or end of September,” Cabrera said.
The current fare at MRT, which runs through Edsa, Metro Manila’s main highway, is pegged at a maximum of P15 per passenger. For LRT 1, passengers are charged up to P20 each for a single journey; for LRT 2, the rate is pegged at P15.
Abaya said in June that the increase was meant to help the government recover part of its operating costs as the DOTC was looking to improve services amid worsening passenger congestion. The train lines are heavily subsidized by the government and are operating at steep losses.
He said that it was costing the government P60 to ferry a single passenger from end to end at MRT—well above the P15 maximum ticket price. For the LRT, the cost is about P40.
Abaya noted that with the increase, fares at the MRT and LRT would still come out cheaper than the average P40 charged by bus operators.
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