Youth group vows to oppose plan to hike MRT, LRT fare

YOUTH group Anakbayan today slammed the planned MRT/LRT fare hike being pushed by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

The group vowed to launch ‘waves of protests to oppose the fare increase.

DOTC secretary Mar Roxas said in a congress hearing yesterday that the government will pursue the implementation of at least 100% increase in fare rates and will cut government subsidy for public mass transport. Fare rates are set to increase to as high as P30 for each passenger. Under the current fare scheme each rider is charged from P10 to P15, with the government subsidizing P55 per person.

Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan national chairperson said “the MRT and LRT are public utilities, and the riding public should not bear the brunt for profiteering businesses operating these services.”

“Commuters benefit from the relatively cheaper train fares. Half of its passengers are students and those whose income is lower than P10,000 a month,” he said.

Crisostomo said the planned increase is “without basis” and slammed secretary Roxas for his plan to “railroad” the hikes without deliberations and consultations.

He said that the government is actually burdening commuters with questionable debt, after it assured contractors and private operators of MRT/LRT with superprofits.

“The DOTC admitted last year that government subsidy for the train systems go to the latter’s debt to foreign banks and investors, and that fare hike will not be for maintenance nor improving services,” said Crisostomo.

He said the fare hike is prelude to privatization, which will mean higher fare rates, further profiteering and abuse.

“The fare hike in the train systems is the first move towards privatization. Once privatized, companies handling its operations will be free from state intervention. This means that riding public would have to pay more as companies dictate fares,” he said.

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