Abaya: Better MRT service first, before fare hike
MANILA, Philippines - When should the government impose a planned P6 fare hike for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3?
If it were solely up to him, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the fare hike should be implemented only when the railway system's service improves.
"My personal inclination is that there wouldn't be any price hikes if there is no improvement in service."
But he said the fare hike may be needed next year -- which means "we should distinguish between doable and realistic improvements and those that are not."
MRT-3 passengers pay only P15 for a ride from end to end of the railway system, way lower than the actual cost of P60. The difference of P45 is being subsidized by government, Abaya earlier said.
Based on the general appropriations bill approved by the House and debated on at the Senate, there will be a reduction in this subsidy next year, which "logically implies a fare hike," explained Abaya.
"However, the budget is just one of the components of the decision to implement. There will probably be a need to have public consultations on this," he said.
Over half a million commuters are riding the MRT-3 daily, higher than what the system was built to handle. The line spanning from Baclaran to Monumento has a capacity of only 350,000 passengers daily.
In 2011, ridership stood at 158 million, up from 153 million in 2010. - Rappler.com