Press Release
August 4, 2010

Recto: Justify proposed MRT, LRT fare increases

Sen. Ralph G. Recto yesterday asked the Senate to conduct a probe on reported plans to increase the fare rates in the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3) and in the two lines of the Light Rail Transit (LRT), saying the proposal could adversely affect almost half a million commuters who use the transit system to get around Metro Manila.

In filing Resolution No. 58, Recto said that there is a strong public clamor for a careful review of the proposed increases in the fare rates of the three mass transit systems.

"A mass transport system such as the MRT 3 and the two LRT lines is an essential government service. The planned increases, therefore, would greatly affect the hundreds of thousands of commuters who rely on the prevailing low fares of MRT 3, LRT Line 1 and LRT Line 2 to get around Metro Manila," Recto said in his resolution.

According to reports, the proposal to increase the fare rates in these mass transit systems was aimed at partially lifting the burden of government in extending heavy state subsidy to cover rising cost of their operations.

Transportation Secretary Jose de Jesus has said the government is spending more than P5 billion a year for MRT 3's operations and maintenance, the reason for what he described as an "inevitable" increase in the line's fare rates

The current fare rate in MRT 3 is P11 to P14, depending on the distance, while it is P10 to P15 in LRT Line 1 and P12 to P14 in LRT Line 2.

The proposed increase in the MRT 3 fare rate is from P14 pesos to P20 or P25, which the government describes as still less than the subsidy it gives to each passenger, which is estimated at P45.

The increases in fare rates in the two LRT lines are still being deliberated.

"While it is admitted that the proposed fare increases can be justified, there is a need to determine whether or not government subsidy to these mass transit systems provide the general riding public a much-needed relief from the high cost of transportation," Recto said.

The senator said that like tuition fees in state universities and colleges, the government subsidy in the fare rates of the three mass transit systems can be viewed as a measure to promote the general welfare.

"This probe also aims to determine if there are other ways in which the three mass transit systems can recover losses in maintenance and operations without burdening the public by increasing the fares," he added.

The LRT lines 1 and 2 is currently run by the government through the Light Rail Transit Authority, while MRT 3 has already been taken over by the government through LandBank and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) from a local private consortium led by the Sobrepeña family.

The 17-kilometer MRT 3 stretches from Taft Avenue in Pasay City to North Avenue in Quezon City and will be linked to the LRT Line 1, which goes from Baclaran in Pasay City to Monumento in Caloocan.

The LRT Line 2, meanwhile, currently has eleven stations and stretches from Claro M. Recto Ave. in Manila to Santolan in Pasig City.

According to recent data provided by the DOTC, the ridership of the three mass transit system in 2009 are as follows: MRT 3, 138.54 million; LRT Line 1, 113.57 million; and LRT Line 2, 48.57 million.

On a daily basis, close to 500,000 passengers take the MRT 3 and the LRT Line 1, while the daily ridership of LRT Line 2 is about 250,000.

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