Senators slam MRT, LRT fare hikes

Reynaldo Santos Jr
Senators slam MRT, LRT fare hikes
Senator Grace Poe calls the fare hike 'treacherous and insensitive' while Senator JV Ejercito says it's 'heartless'

MANILA, Philippines – At least 4 senators on Monday, January 5, slammed the fare hike of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) even as Malacañang defended the move of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

Two of the senators are administration allies – Grace Poe and Francis Escudero. The other two belong to the opposition – Senators JV Ejercito and Nancy Binay. 

Poe in several interviews called the increase “treacherous and insensitive” while Ejercito called it “heartless.”

Poe noted that the 2015 budget that Congress passed in December 2014 already included funds for the repair of the trains. 

Groups and private individuals earlier on Monday also filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to block the fare hikes. (READ: Stop MRT-LRT fare hike, SC asked

DOTC increased the base fire hike to P11.00 ($0.25), with P1.00 ($0.0223) per kilometer for the LRT 1 and 2, and MRT3. (CONVERSATION: Is the MRT/LRT #farehike fair?)

The problem, said Ejercito, is that DOTC is increasing fares when it is delivering poor service. 

Walang puso ang bawat piso na dagdag-pasahe sa MRT at LRT na itinaon sa gitna ng malaparusang serbisyo na dinaranas ng mga pasahero nito tulad ng napakahabang pila, kawalan ng gumaganang elevator at escalator, at tumitigil o nadidiskaril na tren,” said Ejercito. (The fare hike is heartless. They’re imposing it when the service they provide is very poor. Commuters have to put up with long lines, malfunctioning elevators, and unreliable trains.)

Escudero said DOTC misled the Senate. He said the Senate would not have approved DOTC’s budget request had it known that it would implement fare increases.

“We are not in favor of this LRT-MRT fare hike. They never mentioned this, not during the Senate hearings with the department, not even during the budget deliberations.” Escudero said.

Escudero said the DOTC cannot increase fares based on public hearings conducted 4 years ago or in 2011.

Binay also blamed the Disbursement Acceleration Program for the LRT and MRT woes.

She said a P4.5 billion funding earlier allocated for the purchase of new trains were realigned through the DAP to finance other Malacañang priority projects. 

“In 2012, the DOTC surrendered P4.5 billion allocated for purchasing additional cars for the MRT3 to the DAP. Sa ngayon, dilat at tirik ang mga mata ng commuters ng MRT dahil biglang naging bula ang pera na sana ay nagamit para ayusin ang serbisyo ng MRT,” Binay said. –

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