LAWMAKERS are pushing for expansion of fare discounts being given to students and senior citizens in light of a looming fare increase in the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3) and Light Rail Transit 1 and LRT 2.
At present, students are not granted fare discounts on the three lines although they make up more than 31 percent of the train systems’ commuters.
There is also no law giving fare discounts to students on passenger buses, jeepneys and Asian Utility Vehicles (AUVs).
The current fare discount being implemented is only by virtue of a memorandum issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
To institutionalize the grant of a fare-discount privilege to all students on all transport facilities including the three train systems, Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara has filed Senate Bill (SB) 203.
Angara’s proposal also seeks implementation of the student fare year-round, which means all students–elementary, high school, college and vocational-technical–can avail of the discount even during Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, including Christmas.
Under SB 203, students shall be entitled to a grant of 20 percent discount on regular fares on land, sea and air transport upon presentation of their duly issued school IDs and current enrollment forms or other documents to properly establish their identity.
According to Angara, his proposal is a small way of helping students to stay in school amid increasing tuition and other fees and many basic commodities that have burdened parents throughout the country.
He noted that most students usually undertake academic researches, projects and group studies during weekends and breaks.
“This [school break]is also a good opportune time for them to go home to their provinces and spend time with their families for family-related duties,” Angara said, adding that the student discount also covers fares on airplane and ships.
The proposed measure seemed timely because the planned train fare increase is expected to be implemented this year.
The Deparrtment of Transportation and Communications is looking at the 11 plus 1 formula for the higher fare wherein commuters will have to pay P11 when they enter the station and an additional P1.00 for every kilometer.
This means that MRT 3 passengers, for example, will have to pay P28.00 instead of P15.00 from North Avenue Station in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City, which stretch is approximately 17 kilometers.