Press Release
July 23, 2015

Villar welcomes resumption of PNR trips, appeals to forego fare hike

Sen. Cynthia Villar welcomed the resumption today of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Commuter Line trips after getting the go signal from its safety service provider.

"More than 70,000 commuters resorted to other modes of transportation and paid higher fares when the trips stopped for almost three months. Now the commuters can avail of the convenience PNR trips offer," Villar said.

"Although the suspension took longer than expected, we understand that the safety of commuters is the foremost consideration. With repairs and improvements in place, we look forward to a better service for our commuters," she added.

Villar, chair of the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises and principal sponsor of the bill extending the corporate life of PNR to another 50 years, had the chance to personally check the progress of repairs being done on the railway tracks when she joined a test run from Tutuban to Buendia station last June 19 with PNR Gen. Mgr. Allan Dilay.

The Nacionalista Party senator however appealed to PNR and the Department of Transportation and Communication to forego its plan to increase fare charges.

"Reportedly, PNR lost at least P51 million because of the suspension and the natural tendency is to recoup this loss. We are doing a great disservice to the public if we implement a fare hike now. Our commuters, in a way, incurred losses when they had to be inconvenienced and pay more to get to their schools and work places," she stressed.

TUV Rheinland USA, PNR's third party consultant, issued a safety certificate after the needed repairs and improvements were done. The trips, however, will be limited from Tutuban to Alabang, and vice versa, and will operate from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Repairs are still needed before trips up to Calamba in Laguna could resume.

Villar also urged the PNR to implement reforms in its operation to prevent a repeat of the April 29 derailment which injured at least 80 passengers. Among the recommended actions to be taken are the speed restriction of a maximum of 35 kph, the installation of CCTV and the deployment of additional security guards in areas that are subject to potential pilferage.

Villar earlier asked PNR to coordinate with local government units in securing the rail tracks and the formation of volunteer groups to address the garbage problem.

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