Lawmakers oppose LRT and MRT fare hikes; dubbed "great train robbery" by militant group

Lawmakers and protesters opposed the recently approved LRT and MRT fare hikes, which will take effect in March, reports PhilStar.com. Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares are among the lawmakers who are against the fare increase, reports PhilStar.com.

"There are other ways to generate income,"Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said. "The riding public, a majority of whom are poor, should be the last to take the burden."

If passengers use the P100 stored-value tickets, traveling the entire 17-kilometer MRT line (from Taft to North Avenue) will cost P28, the 20-kilometer LRT line 1 (from Baclaran to Roosevelt) P30, and the 14-kilometer LRT line 2 (from Recto to Santolan) P25.

"The commuting public is being hit left and right by these increases like a puny boxer fighting to survive in an arena of economic difficulties," Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said.

Sen. Ralph Recto said students should be offered discounts and the number of train coaches should be increased.

According to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the train fares will be increased to reduce the state subsidy allotted for MRT and LRT operations. The government could save an estimated P1.2 billion per year, Inquirer.net reports.

DOTC Undersecretary Dante Velasco said in an Inquirer.net report that the fare hikes, though approved, "will still have to go through a public consultation because we’re expecting some reactions." Yesterday, militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) slammed the fare hikes and called the increase a "great train robbery." Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said in a GMANews.tv report, "We see no justification for this utterly callous imposition... In its haste to pay off onerous debts, (the) government has chosen to burden consumers instead of finding ways to rectify previous wrongs."

For more on this story, log on to PhilStar.com, Inquirer.net and GMANews.tv.

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