By Paolo Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:41:00 10/05/2010
COMMUTERS can still pay the usual fares for using the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) train system for one month before new rates are imposed following consultations with the riding public.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said this would give it more time to study the new rates and see if these are acceptable to the public. “The MRT board will meet by the third week of October and then a public consultation later,” DOTC Undersecretary Dante Velasco told Inquirer.
November would be the target date for the increase, he said, adding that this was one of the government’s top priorities.
The DOTC wants to raise MRT fares from the current maximum of P15 to between P20 and P30 per passenger to raise revenues and help plug the government’s budget shortfall.
The actual cost of bringing one passenger to one of the MRT lines was estimated at P45.
Additional resources will also allow the government to add more trains to supplement the number of coaches plying the MRT routes on Edsa.
Designed to carry 350,000 passengers daily, the MRT accommodates about half a million people on weekdays.
This year, the government is expected to spend P6 billion to subsidize MRT operations. The figure is expected to rise to over P7 billion next year.
Rates at Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2 are also scheduled to be raised.
The MRT runs along Edsa from Taft Avenue in Pasay City to North Avenue in Quezon City. LRT Line 1, on the other hand, stretches from Baclaran, Parañaque City, to Balintawak, Quezon City, while LRT Line 2 takes passengers from Recto Avenue in Manila to Santolan, Marikina City.