REGULAR commuters of Metro Manila’s two major elevated train systems can still enjoy the current fare rates imposed by its operators indefinitely since the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) still has no date for the implementation of the new fare rates approved in January.
According to Transportation and Communications Undersecretary Dante Velasco, the department is still conducting thorough study on the approved fare increase, particularly on the right date for its implementation in order to lessen the burden on the public.
Despite opposition, the government has approved on January new rates for the Metro Rail and Light Rail Transits (MRT-LRT) to sustain improvements of the rail systems and provide quality services to the public.
The fare increase could also provide the government savings of at least P1.2 billion a year, which the government has been spending to subsidize the train service.
Under the new fare scheme, passengers of the LRT lines 1 and 2 will have to shell out a boarding fee of P11. They will also be charged another P1 for every kilometer.
Fare on the LRT line 1 will cost a maximum of P30 for the entire 20-kilometer ride (from Baclaran to Roosevelt) while the LRT line 2 will have a ceiling of P25 for 14 km (from Recto to Santolan).
Meanwhile, riding the MRT, which spans EDSA, from Taft Avenue to North Avenue, would cost P28 from the original fare of P15.
The implementation of the new fare rates was originally scheduled on March 1, but the department deferred it in order to accommodate public consultations.
Various organizations have questioned the approval of the fare increase despite the millions of pesos generated by the train operators from outdoor advertising contracts.
The Public Commuter and Private Motorists Alliance (PCPMA) and the National Council for Commuters protection (NCCP) both believe that the income generated from the billboards installed on MRT and LRT stations, posts, and train coaches could be used to stop, if not trim down the fare increase.
Ysabel Nabong, PCPMA spokesman, said it was not clear whom were the ones benefiting from the income generated by the advertisements.
The PCPMA and the NCCP have been objecting the implementation of the LTR and MRT fare increase which will take effect this coming March 1.
Nabong and NCCP President Elvira Medina both believe that the government should look for other sources for the needed funds to compensate the alleged losses incurred by the two train systems instead of passing the burden to commuters.
Valasco, meanwhile, assured the public that the DOTC would immediately announce the implementation of the new fare rates after finishing their cited study.