MRT3, LRT1 and 2, seek fare price increase

Manila, Philippines – The Metro Manila Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2 have filed a petition before the Department
of Transportation (DOTR) fare increases.

The MRT-3 proposed a fare hike of P4 to P6. When this happens, a one-way trip from Taft Avenue to North Avenue had would already cost P34 from the previous P28.

The LRT-1 has proposed a fare hike at P17 to P44 from the current P11 to P30 while the LRT-2 asked for fares to be increased to P14 to P33 in stored value tickets from the current P12 to P28. It also proposed a fare increase to P15 to P35 in single value tickets from the current P15 to P30, respectively.

The fare hike petition was done amid the countries increasing inflation rate which is at the current year is pegged at 8.7 percent last January 2023 compared to last year’s 3 percent.

In a statement, the Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC), the private sector operator of the LRT-1, said it incurred losses of almost P32 billion due to expenses which should have been covered by the 5% per year fare hike.

“We are operating at a loss dahil nag-pandemic 2020, 2021 bagsak yung ridership natin,” Atty. Jhimmy Santiago, LRMC general counsel, said.

The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), operator of LRT-2, said the fare increase petition would not affect passengers who only take two station trips.

“Seventeen percent hindi makaka-experience ng increase,” said LRTA Administrator Atty. Hernando Cabrera said.

Several groups meanwhile questioned the timing of the fare increase petitions amid the rising prices of goods.

“The government should continue subsidizing fares,” Kilusang Mayo Uno Vice Chairman Lito Estares said in Filipino.

Other groups said there first needed to be a law that establishes the Rail Regulatory Unit (RRU) which approves train system fare increases.

The RRU and train systems were both under the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

“They are the ones who apply for the increase, they are also the ones who approve the increase. There is that problem.,” Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said.

Cabrera however said, “It’s there in the law that created the DOTr.”

The decisions on the fare increase petitions would be released this month.

In the concession agreement, it says there needs to be a fare increase every two years. But it also says that if the government takes no action and can’t make a decision, or refuses to grant a fare increase, the government needs to subsidize the fare,” DOTR Usec Cesar Chavez said.