The government is losing P7 million a month or P250,000 a day because of Philippine National Railways (PNR) passengers who do not pay proper fare.
PNR General Manager Allan Dilay made the disclosure during a briefing on PNR operations before the House committee on transportation chaired by Rep. Cesar Sarmiento of Catanduanes.
The PNR, which serves commuters in Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Bicol Regions, has a ridership of 100,000 a day. However, At least 30,000 more passengers take the trains without paying the proper fare.
“We lose P7.5 million per month because we don’t have an automated fare collection. We collect payments for tickets like a bus ticket. There are those who don’t pay tickets and just barge into the trains, while there are those who only pay the minimum price of P10 even if they will disembark at the farthest station and as such, they should have paid P25,” Dilay told the House transportation panel.
Department of Transportation and Communications Asst. Sec. Jaime Raphael Feliciano disclosed that the PNR was pushing for modernization with the government eyeing a 90-kilometer PNR train line that will run from Malolos, Bulacan to Calamba, Laguna.
The planned line, Feliciano said, was being evaluated by the National Economic and Development Authority and will be implemented through a public-private-partnership.
The envisioned Bulacan-to-Laguna route will have 10 train coaches with seven to 15 minute headways and is expected to serve 700,000 commuters on a daily basis.
“We [in the government]want to share the cost with the private sector because this project will cost a lot at P270 billion which would eat a lot of our fiscal space. We are looking at the government providing the tracks and rolling stock and the private sector getting to operate and maintain it,” Feliciano pointed out.
If the planned line pushes through, it will clearly decongest the jampacked train lines in Metro Manila.
The Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT1) running from Roosevelt in Quezon City to Baclaran in Pasay City and the LRT2 running from Santolan in Quezon City to Recto in Manila have a combined ridership 500,000 a day.
The plight of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 which runs from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City is worse with a ridership reaching 560,000 to 620,000 everyday—way beyond its ideal capacity of 350,000 to 400,000 passengers everyday.