THE Philippine National Railways (PNR) must guarantee value-for-money with its plan to implement a P5 fare hike starting July 1, detained Sen. Leila de Lima said on Monday.
The PNR said starting July 1, the minimum fare would increase from P10 to P15 for the first 14 kilometers. Then, there would be an additional P5 for every zone traveled or seven kilometers per zone.
The fare increase also means that for the whole 56-kilometer trip, from Tutuban station in Manila to Mamatid station in Cabuyao, Laguna, the maximum fare would now become P53.
In a statement, de Lima cautioned the PNR against shortchanging its estimated 45,000 daily passengers by translating its scheduled fare hike to better service.
The senator is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Quezon City on drug-related charges.
“Granted that the fare hike is the only immediate solution to shoulder the maintenance of the trains, the PNR should be able to produce measurable and satisfactory results with the additional fare,” de Lima said.
“With its fare hike, I’m hoping that the PNR has a solid plan for its maintenance. Be mindful that the passengers of the train are forking over their hard-earned money for convenience,” she added.
Sen. Francis Escudero earlier urged government-run railway agency to improve its services first before implementing any fare increase.
“I think it is simply unfair to make people pay for something that is yet to come,” he said.
De Lima authored Senate Bill 370, which seeks to rehabilitate the PNR system and amend its charter.
It also grants the PNR a capital stock of P100 billion, up from the existing P250 million allowable stock.
If passed into law, the measure will exempt PNR from all import duties on all railway materials, rolling stocks, spare parts and equipment, in order to reduce the cost of maintaining and improving train service and operations for the benefit of the public.
Then-President Benigno Aquino 3rd signed into law in June 2014 Republic Act 10638 extending to 50 years or until 2064 the corporate life of the PNR. BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO