Aquino indicates hike in MRT, LRT fares inevitable
BAIS CITY, Negros Oriental–President Aquino indicated on Wednesday that a hike in fares for both the Mass Railway Transit (MRT) and Light Railway Transit (LRT) was inevitable although he would not say when this would be implemented.
Transport and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas said the fare hikes would depend on how much Congress approves for subsidies in the national budget for next year.
Here for the inauguration of Bais City’s P265-million public market complex, the President was asked whether he shared the view of some of his economic managers and economists who favor raising the MRT and LRT fares.
The President replied that his administration’s policy was to make sure the MRT and LRT fares would be “close to or equal to bus fares.”
Airconditioned buses charge a mimimum fare of P12 for five kilometers and increments of P1.85 for every succeeding kilometer. Ordinary buses charge less.
The minimum charge on the MRT is P10 while it is P12 on both LRT-1 and LRT-2. The maximum charge is P15 for both MRT and LRT.
However, Mr. Aquino pointed out that the government subsidizes P45 of the P60 it costs to bring passengers from one end to the other end of the MRT or LRT.
The President noted that people in urbanized areas such as Cebu and Davao were also asking the national government to help them put up their own mass transit systems.
“It’s not justifiable that the entire country should pay for something benefiting the National Capital Region only,” he told reporters.
The President said that what his government was aiming for was to ensure the fare hikes in the MRT and LRT would be close or equal to the bus fares.
Asked how soon the fare hikes would happen, he said that he still had to “check on the actual dates.”
But Roxas, who accompanied the President here, said the public should not worry so much because the fare hikes “will not be right away” and would first go through some process.
Roxas said the fare hike would depend on the budget to be given by Congress to fund the subsidy for the MRT and LRT. Congress is now deliberating on the proposed P1.8 trillion national budget for next year.
“If the subsidy is reduced so that it could be given to other parts of the country, then there is a need to make up (for it) or raise (fares),” he told reporters.
He said even if the fares were raised, the service provided by the MRT and LRT was very good because it cuts travel time by one hour for most commuters.
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