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MANILA, Philippines – Fares for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) could go up by March or April 2024.
The management of the MRT3 said that it intends to file a petition for fare increase by the first week of December. Under the petition, the proposed fares will range from P16 to P34, higher than the current fares of P13 to P28.
The fare increase will come from an additional P2.29 to the current boarding fee of P11, and an additional P0.21 per kilometer to the current distance fare of P1 per kilometer.
It will take about three months to process the petition, which includes holding a public hearing and publishing the fare increase in a newspaper of general circulation, should the increase be approved. The expected implementation period will be in late March or early April 2024.
This is not the first time that the MRT3 has pursued a fare increase. The MRT3, along with the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT1) and Line 2 (LRT2), all sought fare hikes earlier in 2023. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) only approved the fare hike for the LRT1 and LRT2.
The MRT3 fare hike was not approved “due to infirmities in complying with the requirements and procedure,” according to Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista. Transportation Assistant Secretary for Railways Jorjette Aquino clarified that this was related to the MRT3’s failure to comply with the publication of its public hearing in a timely manner.
This time, Aquino said, they were “confident” that the MRT3’s fare increase petition will be approved since they have addressed the shortcomings in their last petition.
The railway operator has been requesting for a fare increase to combat ballooning deficits that force it to rely on government subsidies for their operations. Aquino said that the MRT3 incurs deficits of up to P6.2 billion per year. For instance, from January to October 2023, the MRT3 only brought in P1.9 billion in revenue but had P8 billion in expenses.
An increase in fares will allow the MRT3 to rely less on government subsidies, although it will not eliminate the need for government funds altogether. Fares would need to go up to P69 for end-to-end trips for the MRT3 to run with no subsidies. Under the proposed 2024 transportation budget, the MRT3 will receive a subsidy of more than P6 billion.
With the fare increase, Aquino said that all MRT3 train sets will be converted into four-car trains, which would accommodate 394 more passengers per train set. A pocket track – which is used for the temporary storage of train cars or for mid-point train turnbacks – will also be constructed at the Taft Station. – Rappler.com