As a regular commuter and patron of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Metro Manila, the fare increase is pretty disturbing. Imagine paying twice your fare last year. But the real question here is this: is the fare increase justifiable?
First, the increase of fare in the LRT and MRT seems to have not undergone public hearings. Comparing it to the process of increasing the fare for other public utility vehicles (PUVs) such as jeeps and buses where they undergo public hearings and consultations, the sudden decision of increasing of the fare in the LRT and MRT is questionable. No explanations were offered and given except for the statement by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) that it was overdue for years.
Second, according to the MRT-Hong Kong, it would be best if MRT Line 3 shuts down until it is fully rehabilitated to protect the users and for safety reasons especially after the horrible incidents that happened last year where it proved that MRT Line 3 is no longer safe. If this is so, then why is still MRT Line 3 operating? Plus even increase the fare when they should be considering the rehabilitation of the train first.
Last but not the least, after all the controversies DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya faced including the unexplainable giving of the contract to the maintenance firm which happens to be owned by Jun Abaya, Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, and then-MRT-3 general manager Al S. Vitangcol. There was no proper bidding that happened and everything seemed to be done under the table.
After all these issues, is the fare increase of the MRT and LRT really justifiable when in fact, it seems that they all have the budget and the fare increase is not really necessary. And don’t forget the fact that despite of the budget the department, there was no upgrading of the maintenance and operations that happened during Abaya’s stay as the secretary of DOTC.
What do you think?
- Justin -