Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Govt approves MRT, LRT fare hikes, promises faster trains

The government has approved the new rates for Metro Manila train lines despite opposition from commuters.

Starting March 1, 2011, passengers taking the MRT and the LRT lines 1 and 2 will pay an P11 boarding fee, with an additional P1 for every succeeding kilometer, according to Raffy Tima’s report on GMA News’ “24 Oras."

Tima said the new rates were announced by Transportation Undersecretary Dante Velasco at a press briefing Tuesday.

Based on the new rates, the P20 fare for LRT line 1 from Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City to Baclaran in ParaƱaque City will be increased to P30, while the P15 fare in LRT line 2 from Marikina City to Legarda in Manila will be hiked to P25.

MRT has yet to release its new fare matrix, according to the report.

The report said the government, which has been heavily subsidizing the train service, could save an estimated P1.2 billion a year as a result of the fare increase. 

Velasco said the higher rates would mean better services for commuters like shorter waiting times, cleaner facilities and faster trains.

“The speed (of the trains) will be increased from 40 kilometer per hour to 60 kilometer per hour," said Velasco. “This will require… aayusin yung (upgrade of) rail tracks."

The provisional fare hike was approved by the LRT board and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC). It will undergo public consultation next month, the report said.

Around 500,000 commuters take the MRT (North Ave. in Quezon City to Taft Avenue Extension in Pasay City) everyday, while the LRT line 1 has a daily ridership of over half a million. LRT line 2 is used by around 250,000 people every day. - KBK/HS, GMANews.TV

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