• Court asked to junk train fare hikes amid MRT mess


    The Supreme Court (SC) was against asked by a militant party-list group on Thursday to scrap fare hikes for Metro Manila’s train systems amid breakdowns in operations the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3).

    In a motion filed before the SC, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate led his party list group in asking for immediate resolution of a consolidated petition seeking nullification of Department of Transportation and Communications Order 2014-04 on the fare hike directive.

    The order gave way for the adjustment of the base fare from P10 to P11 for both the Metro Rail Transit and the Light Rail Transit 1 and LRT 2 with additional P1 for each kilometer beginning January 4, 2015.

    With this, the maximum fare on the train lines went up to between P28 and P30, from the previous P15 to P20.

    Other petitioners in the case are former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco and the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters Inc.

    Named respondents in the consolidated petition were then-Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, MRT 3 and LRT 1 and LRT 2 officials, Metro Rail Transit Corp. and Light Rail Manila Consortium.

    Bayan Muna said the riding public should be given a refund by the train systems.

    “[T]he MRT 3, despite the much-questioned and much-protested fare hike, continues to give its passengers poor and unsatisfactory service. It continues to experience technical problems that endanger the safety of the riding public. News about its malfunctions has now become so common, and complaints from the public have been increasing,” the pleading stated.

    It pointed out ta series of incidents in the MRT 3 that include a coach that detached from the train requiring evacuation of around 130 to 140 passengers, a woman whose right arm was severed on November 14 when it was caught in the MRT 3 train’s coupler and a disposable diaper left hanging on the MRT 3’s overhead system that stalled operations for more than an hour.

    “The worsening condition of our rail systems in spite of the implementation of the fare hikes only proves the correctness and validity of petitioners’ grounds for their opposition to the 2015 LRT/MRT fare hikes, as embodied in the Department Order No. 2014-014 of the then-DoTC,” the pleading said, referring to the Department of Transportation and Communication.

    “In essence, the petitioners argued that the unilateral imposition of the fare hike is a violation of the riding public’s right to due process; that the fare hike was without sufficient factual basis; and that the fare hike is unjust and unreasonable and contrary to public policy,” it added.



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