MANILA, Philippines --- Good news for commuters: there is no exact date yet for the implementation of the fare hike for the Light and Metro Rail (LRT-MRT) this year.Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya admitted that the planned LRT-MRT fare hike has no definite schedule yet as he said there will be a new round of public consultation on the delicate transportation issue.
“We have yet to decide,” said Abaya after being asked when the LRT-MRT fare hike would take effect.
Abaya defended the government’s direction to conduct public consultations anew despite having settled the issue on the new fare rate of P11 boarding fee and P1 charge for every kilometer travelled during the public consultation held during former Secretary Jose de Jesus’ term.
“There is nothing wrong with conducting a new round of public hearing. We just want to make sure of the conditions,” he said.
Abaya mentioned the granting of discounts to students as among the particular issues that need to be reconsidered, since implementors see “longer lines than usual” just to give a particular sector fare discount privileges.
“This is not to mention the probability of faking the authenticity of claims and it would be tedious for implementors or detrimental to the original intent (of raising fares to reduce government subsidy on the rail lines,” he said.
The Cabinet official added that there is a need to consult state economic managers on the proper timing of the fare hike, considering the impending water and toll rate hikes this year.
“There has to be a balancing act since water, electricity and toll hikes are all being considered,” he added.
The LRT line 1, which runs from Baclaran in Pasay City to Roosevelt in Quezon City, has an average daily ridership of 500,000, while the LRT 2, which runs daily from Recto in Manila to Santolan in Pasig City, has an average daily ridership of 350,000.
Meanwhile, the MRT 3, which runs the length of Epifanio delos Santos Avenue from Taft Avenue in Pasay City to North Avenue in Quezon City, has an average daily ridership of 600,000.