MANILA, Philippines - Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya on Tuesday doused fears the new smart card ticketing system for the MRT and LRT will result in a fare increase.
In an interview on DZMM, Abaya said the winning bidder, the Ayala and Metro Pacific consortium, specified in the contract they will not charge per transaction basis, which would have caused a fare hike.
"Dahil unang-una, separate to doon sa napag-uusapang MRT-LRT fare hike. Bahagi talaga yun ng bid. Puede yan sa bid nila kada transaction ay puede sabihin nila na bayaran niyo kami o bayaran kami ng may hawak ng card ng limang sentimo kada stop. Pero sa nangyaring bid halos zinero nila lahat bawat transaction wala silang isisingil o ikukuha doon sa may hawak ng card," Abaya said.
The DOTC last week awarded to AF Consortium the P1.72 billion automatic fare collection system (AFCS) contract. The new system, which will replace the current magnetic stripe ticketing system, is expected to be up and running by the third quarter of 2015.
The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) had also earlier clarified the proposed fare hike is not related to the new ticketing system.
The fare hike was approved in 2010 to address funding issues for maintenance and upgrades. However, the fare hike has yet to be approved.
Meanwhile, activist group Bayan wants to take a closer look at the contract to find out the changes and its possible effect to commuters.
"Sana nga po maging transparent ang DOTC at ibigay lahat ng mga dokumento kaugnay ng mga privatization bills bago pa man sana ma-implement o magkapirmihan. Sana ay may scrutiny na yung ating mga commuter groups para naman ho malinaw kung ano posibleng maging epekto ng mga kontrata na ito para sa mga mananakay," Renato Reyes, Bayan Secretary-General, said. - With ANC