• LRT fare hike up to the next secretary – Abaya

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    The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary said on Thursday that there would be no fare hike for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1.

    “As to when the decision [for a fare hike]that would be up to the next [DOTC] secretary,” DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told reporters.

    “Clearly there would be no fare hike, because government is in the position to pay that off, the difference, off,” Abaya said.

    Abaya was referring to the difference between fares actually collected and the fare level subsidized by the government.

    He added that, “I would have to check with the CA on how you apply that. Let’s say assuming 50 centavos is the difference, if no one rides we pay zero, if 100 people ride then we multiply it by 50 centavos, then we pay P50. May process yun [there is a process for that].”

    LRT1 runs from Taft Avenue to Roosevelt in Quezon City. Passenger traffic last year rose to 171.80 million from the previous year’s 170.72 million.

    Number of trains to increase
    DOTC also said Thursday that 54 coaches of Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) would be running starting September.

    During a press briefing, Abaya said that MRT-3’s maintenance provider’s target to have 54 coaches running by September and 60 coaches in October.

    It added that one month after the start of the multi-discipline approach to maintaining the MRT-3 system initiated by the DOTC, the transport agency reports that the MRT-3 is now able to deploy 45 coaches during peak hours.

    The multi-disciplinary mode includes maintenance of the rolling stocks, power supply, tracks and permanent ways, automated fare collection system, communications, building facilities and equipment and conveyance.

    DOTC’s Abaya said that, “The purpose of the multi-disciplinary mode is to plan properly because with this one [maintenance contractor], the contract is for six months, so they know what should be procured, and what will be covered by those six months. So, hopefully, buying the appropriate spare parts, having clear procurement plans and an investment plan would translate to better service.”

    The MRT-3 is part of DOTC’s integrated strategy to alleviate the traffic congestion along the EDSA corridor. The train line carries about 600,000 passengers daily on its 17-kilometer route.

    MRT-3 management assured the public that they will continue their efforts to improve the train system.

    According to the MRT, 48 brand-new coaches will be delivered in several tranches from 2015 to 2017 to address the train system’s overcapacity problems.

    Under the procurement contract for the new coaches, the train supplier has 18 months, or until the third quarter of 2015, to deliver its prototype unit for testing before the rest of the light rail vehicles arrive on a monthly basis.

    Common station discussions
    At present, SM Prime Holdings Inc. is questioning the granting to rival Ayala Corp. the first common station connecting the LRT and MRT. The suit filed by SM stopped the DOTC from awarding the P65-billion Light Rail Transit Cavite Extension (Cavex) project.

    The TRO secured by SM prevented DOTC from awarding the project to winning bidder Light Rail Manila Consortium (LMRC) composed of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Ayala Corp.

    SM Prime said the common station project contradicts an earlier contract between SM Prime and Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) which provides that the common station be built beside SM North Edsa.

    DOTC said that a second common station, as proposed by San Miguel Corp.’s Universal LRT Corp. (ULC) will be built SM North EDSA connecting Metro Rail Transit Line 3 and the future MRT-7.

    Abaya added that the government and SM Prime Holdings Inc. could go to the court and
    file the copy of the compromise agreement.

    “I just met up with them, we have drafted a compromise agreement simple lang naman iyon, nandyan si Usec Jojo, I think, he would have the draft, hopefully it’s the right version that they’ve wanted. Then siguro by tomorrow we could go to the court and give them the copy of compromise agreement,” Abaya said.

    “We are confident both ULC-MRT, and LMRC-LRT1 [will be built],” Abaya said.

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