MRT fare hike seen in January 2013

by Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 10 2012 05:55 PM | Updated as of Sep 11 2012 07:32 PM

Roxas says fare hike will be 'reasonable' 

MANILA, Philippines - Outgoing Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas said it is likely that the long-delayed MRT fare hike will be implemented by January. 

Roxas added the decision to increase MRT fares has long been made final and is up for implementation anytime. The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) can no longer delay the MRT fare hike by January though since next year's budget has been already slashed by several millions. 

"Palagay ko hindi na rin talaga maiiwasan by next year dahil yung budget na tinatalakay ngayon sa house hindi lamang kung ano yung ibinawas for this year pero may dagdag na bawas pa sa subsidy," Roxas said. 

The government has been subsidizing MRT fares for 10 years now and the amount of subsidy has already reached P75 billion. 

Roxas assured commuters however that the new fare will be reasonable and will be less than the current fare for buses, which is around P36 from North Avenue to Taft. "Hindi lalagpas ng P36 definitely at saka sa palagay ko magkakaroon naman ng phasing, phase by phase para hindi mabigla," he said. 

Roxas also assured that most of the DOTC projects he is leaving behind are almost at its closing. The Air Passenger Bill of Rights is already being finalized and is scheduled to be released within the week. 

The 40kph speed limit proposed for city buses along EDSA is scheduled to be implemented within the year. Operators and government are simply trying to settle who will shoulder the expenses for the purchase of speed limiters which are supposed to be installed per bus unit. Meanwhile, other infrastructure projects, from air to sea and rail upgrades, are already undergoing bidding.