MANILA, Philippines - Fare hikes for the three mass rail systems in Metro Manila have been approved, but the government postponed indefinitely their implementation.
Transportation Undersecretary Ruben Reinoso confirmed that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has agreed to the proposed increase in the fares for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2, and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3.
However, he said the LRTA (Light Rail Transit Authority) decided to delay the fare hikes in light of rising prices of basic goods and services.
"We are looking for the best timing. We don't want to burden the people. But certainly [LRT, MRT fares] are going up, it's just a matter of time."
Under Executive Order 603, the LRTA needs to consult the LTFRB first, and comply with publication requirements, before it could adjust fares. The LRTA board is headed by Transportation Secretary Jose de Jesus.
The Transportation Department had said the LRT and MRT fare hikes were meant to reduce the billion-peso subsidy extended by the government to rail operations.
This would be supported by a plan to bid out the operation and maintenance of the rail systems to the private sector to free up state funds.
The fare hikes were supposed to have taken effect on March 1. The LRTA, last February, deferred this to allow a review by the LTFRB.
The approved fares include a boarding fee of P11 and a P1 charge for every kilometer.
As a result of the new fares, travelling the entire length of the MRT station, a total of 17 kilometers from Taft to North Avenue, would cost P28. For the LRT Lines 1 and 2, the maximum fares will be P30 and P25, respectively.Commuters, however, would be able to get discounts if they buy "stored value" tickets.