MRT fare hike inevitable - DOTC chief


Posted at Jul 29 2010 02:04 AM | Updated as of Jul 29 2010 01:07 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A fare hike at the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) is "inevitable," officials told ABS-CBN News on Wednesday.

DOTC Secretary Jose de Jesus told ABS-CBN News that it spends more than P5 billion a year for MRT operations and maintenance.

"It's not recovering the cost of operations. I think it has to go up. I don't know how much," De Jesus said.

The government is considering increasing the fares, from P15 pesos, to P20 or P25, MRT General Manager Reynaldo Berroya said.

"It will amount to an additional income of around P1 billion per annum," Berroya said.

Transport authorities said the hike is necessary to allow the MRT to recover losses.

The railway line only earns about P1.8 billion a year.

Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Undersecretary Thompson Lantion said that the current fares of the MRT is subsidized by the government.

The government subsidizes fares at an average rate of P45 per passenger, according to Lantion. This means the regular rate, if government support is removed, would have been P60.

Commuters oppose the looming hike, and are asking the Aquino administration to carefully study the matter. Report from Wheng Hidalgo, ABS-CBN News