Lawmaker says Metro train fare still lowest in Asia
MANILA, Philippines—Despite the fare hikes implemented last Jan. 4, Metro Manila train fares are still the cheapest in Asia, according to Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone.
In a statement, Evardone, vice chair of House committee on appropriations, said studies of the National Economic Development Authority and Investment Coordinating Council showed a need for a fare hike because the rate of the country’s light rail system has remained the same for more than a decade even as bus fares have increased many times over.
But Evardone challenged the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) management to ensure the public of improved services in the coming months after the implementation of the fare increase.
“The MRT and LRT management should be transparent in the utilization of their funds to make sure that the proceeds are being used for the upgrading of the country’s rail transport system,” Evardone said in the statement.
After assuring the House committee on transportation that the proceeds will be used to upgrade the their facilities, Evardone said “we should give the MRT and LRT management a chance to improve their services.”
Evardone said LRT fares have remained the same for 11 years, while the MRT fares had remained unchanged for 13 years. Both are P15 while bus fares are at P32.
In peso terms, Evardone said the Orange Line of the Tokyo Metro charges a boarding fare of P40 and P3.92 per kilometer. “If we applied the same rate to LRT 1, that would be P110.49, and P90.91 for LRT 2. For MRT 3, the same rate would amount to P106.57,” he said.
On its West Rail Line, the Hong Kong MTR charges a boarding fare of P23.20 and P2.43 per kilometer, which translates to P66.91 on the LRT 1, P54.77 on LRT 2 and P64.48 on MRT 3.
Evardone said the Singapore MRT charges a boarding fare of P28.49 and P1.33 for every kilometer on its NS and EW Lines. If the rate was applied here, it would cost P52.47 on LRT 1, P45.81 on LRT 2 and P51.13 on MRT 3.
On its NE & Circle Lines, the Singapore MRT charges a boarding fare of P29.23 and P1.36 per kilometer, but that still translates to P53.75 on LRT 1, P46.94 on LRT 2 and P52.39 on MRT 3, Evardone said.
“All Filipinos dream of a system like our neighbors but we need to invest in rails. If we don’t invest in, it we’ll never get there,” he said.
Comparing the previous LRT and MRT fares to those of other countries, Evardone said boarding fare was at a uniform P9 plus 61 centavos per kilometer on LRT 1, 46 centavos on LRT 2 and 35 centavos on MRT 3.
“But even with the new fares, the boarding fare is still only at P11 with P1 per kilometer,” he added.