By Jovee Marie de la Cruz | Business Mirror | February 4, 2015

A lawmaker on Wednesday urged the House of Representatives to defer the additional fare hikes at the Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2 and Metro Rail Transit 3, which was recently implemented by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

United Nationalist Alliance Rep. Gus Tambunting of Parañaque, in House Resolution 1881, said that there is a growing public clamor against the MRT and LRT fare increase, alleging that it is unjust and arbitrary imposition.

He said the government should solve first frequent breakdowns due to mismanagement before increasing the fare.

“There is also a growing public dismay in the deteriorating operating condition and service of the MRT and LRT,” he said.

“The operation of MRT and LRT is seemingly performing way below expectation as it continue to succumb to frequent malfunctions and technical glitches, leaving the commuters in disarray,” Tambunting added.

The lawmaker, citing the Philippine Statistics Authority-National Statistical Coordination Board, said that, in 2012, the total number of MRT passenger is 174.5 million and LRT is 170.7 million, while the LRT 2 is 70 million.

The fare adjustments which took effect on January 4, mark the first such hike in ticket prices for Metro Manila’s train riders in a decade.

The base fare for the LRT Lines 1 and 2 and the MRT is now P11, and an additional P1 will be charged for every kilometer from the station of origin.

This means that a single journey ticket from Baclaran station to Roosevelt station will cost P30 from the present fare of P20.

Passengers, who use stored- value tickets for end-to-end trips on the LRT 1 and 2 will get a P1 discount.

For MRT 3 single journey and stored value tickets from Taft station to North Avenue station or vice versa, the journey will cost P28 from the current P15.

The DOTC said the fare adjustments would enable the government to save P2 billion in annual subsidies, or 17 percent of the P12 billion that it allots each year to subsidize the LRT and MRT train systems.

Jovee Marie N. dela Cruz