STATE-OWNED Philippine National Railways (PNR) is proposing to increase fare hike for its rehabilitation project.
“We are awaiting a safety certification from TUV Rheinland before resuming operations. The proposed fare increase is a separate matter; the proposal has been under review by our Undersecretary for Rails since March,” DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said in a text message.
TUV Rheinland is a global provider of technical, safety, and certification services.
He added, “PNR has been running at a loss for many years, as its last fare increase was around 20 years ago. They are proposing the fare increase to raise the revenues needed for several rehabilitation projects.”
Sought for comment, PNR general manager Joseph Allan Dilay said in a text message: “From P10 magiging P15, yes sana, and then yung P45 magiging P60, that’s up to Calamba na” [From P10 it would be P15 hopefully, and then the P45 fare would become P60, that’s up to Calamba already].
From the Tutuban main station, train tickets are currently priced at the following rates: to Pasay Road, P10; Bicutan P15; Sucat P20; Alabang P25; San Pedro in Laguna P30; Sta. Rosa P35; Matitid P40; and Calamba, Laguna P45.
In May, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) called for bidders for a P144.38-million project to add a second railway to the existing railroad track connecting the Sucat and Alabang train stations of the PNR.
The project, which the DOTC hopes to start by the third quarter of this year, aims to add 3.97 kilometers of track to the PNR’s existing railway.
At present, only the railway from Tutuban to Sucat is double-tracked.
The state-owned PNR temporarily suspended its operations following the April 29 derailment incident near the Magallanes station. PNR is still investigating the incident.
The investigation is expected to yield a precise inventory of missing or needed parts such as rail joints, angle bars, and rail clips–which will then be procured and installed in order to allow the PNR to resume its operations as soon as possible.
Prior to the incident, the railway system had been servicing the Tutuban-Calamba route daily.
The PNR is also expecting the arrival in the next few weeks of two second-hand trains donated by Japan.
Besides the replacement of missing parts and the construction of a double-track rail, the PNR is planning to extend the roofing of its terminals, install turnstiles at major stations, and fix toilets for passenger use.
The improvements are targeted for completion by the end of 2015 or early 2016.
Meanwhile, the DOTC is scheduled to begin the procurement process for the North-South Railway Project later this month.
The project is the DOTC’s long-term solution to revitalize PNR services, with Malolos to Tutuban as its North Line and Tutuban to Legazpi City as its South Line. Project completion is expected by the end of 2020.