• Staggered train fare increases proposed

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    A lawmaker has sought a middle ground on the controversial fare adjustments by Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3), Light Rail Transit 1 and LRT 2, saying the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) should consider gradual and staggered fare increases instead of the one-time raises starting on January 4.

    Rep. Winston Castelo of Quezon City (2nd District) over the weekend urged the government to immediately look for other options, such as looking at tapping private entities to take over operations of MRT 3 in light of the Senate quashing a P54-billion buyout proposal.

    Meanwhile, the loss of P2 billion in annual subsidies and its deployment to social services was being cited by DOTC Secretary Emilio Abaya as the primary reason for the fare adjustments by the three train systems.

    Castelo, chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, in a statement argued that the spikes should be pursued on a staggered basis to avoid any adverse impact on train commuters.

    The proposed fare increases could be gradually spread in two to three years, he said, warning that sudden fare raises would punish simple wage earners, who depend on the three train systems for their daily transport.

    Announced fare adjustments would jack up the fares of LRT 1 from Baclaran to Roosevelt stations to P29 for a one-way trip from P12 and P15 at present; LRT 2 from Santolan to Recto stations to P24 from P20 per ride; and MRT 3, between North Avenue and Taft Avenue to P28 from P10 and P15 at present.

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