• Transport dept rules out MRT, LRT fare increase

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    THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Monday assured senators that the construction of the P2.8 billion common station in Quezon City will not lead to a fare increase for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT).

    At the joint hearing of the senate committees on public services and public works into the proposed MRT-LRT common station, Assistant Secretary Leah Quiambao said that the construction of the common terminal will have no effect on fares.

    “We made sure upon instruction of incumbent DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade that there will be no increase,” she told senators.

    The common station will link three elevated train systems in Metro Manila — MRT line 3 LRT Line 1 (LRT 1) and LRT line 7 which is being constructed.

    The common station will also be connected to the proposed integrated transport terminal that will be used by provincial and city buses as well as other public utility vehicles (PUVs).

    Sen. Grace Poe asked the DOTr to provide the committee the names of the officials who forged an agreement with SM Prime Holdings Inc. in 2009 allowing the common station to be constructed near SM North Edsa.
    SM initially paid the government P200 million for the naming rights.

    The Memorandum of Agreement was between the Light Rail Transit Authority and SMPHI.

    “Definitely, whoever approved that without prior consultation and bidding and just giving the naming rights—P200 million to one company—is not above the law. Somebody has to be held liable,” Poe said.

    The LRTA said that the P200 million is intact and it can be used to offset the cost of the station.

    Poe said the P2.8 billion price tag of the common station is understandable because of the new design and improvements being added to the original plan.

    The cost of the project was pegged at P778 in 2009 but Poe said that the original design was only for 7,200 square meters (sqm) compared to the proposed new location at 12,700 sqm.

    There will also be additional rails to speed up the movement of trains.

    “For now, I think, I have reason to believe that perhaps the improvements that they are adding in this station are more ideal, but then we still have to wait for the decision also of NEDA,” she said, referring to the National Economic Development Authority.

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