MANILA, 24June2013 – Groups led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and RILES Network today staged a picket in from of the Department of Transportation and Communication in Ortigas to protest the impending P10 fare increase for the MRT and LRT train lines. The increase will be spread over two years and may be implemented as early as August.
The group also submitted a letter of request addressed to DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya asking his office to disclose details of the fare increase, including “copies of all proposals and studies regarding the proposed fare hike, including simulations, financial reports and feasibility studies”.
In its letter, Bayan said it wanted to know “how the figures for the fare hike were arrived at and where the fare hike revenues will go”. The group also request copies “of any existing rules of procedure regarding public consultations or public hearings, as well as the legal basis by which the DOTC and LRTA can fix rates for train lines.”
The DOTC and LRTA have said that there will be major train improvements when fares for the two train lines are increased. The LRTA even cited the construction of line extensions in Cavite and Rizal as among the modernization projects of the government.
Bayan has disputed such claims since it said that the fare hike was merely going to replace the funds lost from the government’s subsidy reduction.
The P6-P9 billion yearly subsidy has been used to pay for the debts incurred by the train lines. The group said that the latest fare increases will be used merely to continue debt payments.
The groups are pressing the DOTC to release the materials before the supposed public consultations which will likely be held next month.
Bayan has assailed the process of approving the fare hike saying that the consultations between the DOTC and the LRTA and LTFRB do not amount to much since both the LRTA and LTFRB are agencies under the DOTC.
“We hope you could also provide these information to the general public to allow any interested party to question the fare hike during the ‘public consultations’ or other venues,” the letter said.