MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III said the government must hike the fares for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 and Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1 and 2 so it could use the subsidy for the rail systems for other social services.
In his 4th State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 22, Aquino said the government has been shouldering P25 of the cost of each trip made by passengers using the LRT, and P45 using the MRT.
“Each and every Filipino pays a share of the subsidy – whether you live in Mindanao or Visayas and not once have you ever stepped onto the LRT or MRT, you help fund this,” he said.
He said it doesn’t help that profits from posters and billboards in train stations go to private companies instead of government. He said this was a result of the decision of “past leaders” to “give away our commercial development rights.”
“What we could have used to subsidize the cost of maintenance and operations was given away,” he said.
“Perhaps it is only reasonable for us to move the fares of the MRT and LRT closer to the fares of air-conditioned buses so that the government subsidy for the MRT and LRT can be used for other social services,” he added.
Commuters using MRT-3 pay P15 for a one-way trip along the entire line from Taft Avenue in Pasay City to North Avenue in Quezon City.
The same fare is charged by LRT-1, which connects Baclaran in southern Metro Manila to Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City.
A P10 fare hike is scheduled to be implemented in tranches for both trains this year until 2014.
Aquino said the true cost of a whole trip on the MRT is P60, and it’s P40 on the LRT. – Rappler.com
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