MANILA - The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Saturday assured the public it has no plans to increase fares at the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) anytime soon.
In a statement, DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said the agency is following instructions from Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to shelf any discussion on a fare hike until commuters experience improvements to be made on the rail system.
The announcement followed the recent hike in jeepney and bus fares, which came amid rising prices of basic goods.
"Mariin na instruction ni Secretary Tugade na hindi tayo mag-i-increase ng anumang pasahe hangga't hindi nararamdaman ng ating mga commuters ang improvements sa services ng MRT-3," Batan explained.
(Secretary Tugade made an emphatic instruction that we will not increase fares while commuters have yet to experience improvements in services at the MRT-3.)
The MRT-3 last increased its fees in January 2015 to P11 as base fare plus an additional P1 per kilometer.
It has been plagued by issues traced to poor maintenance, with coaches breaking down every once in a while.
A daily average of 350,000 commuters use the 16.9-kilometer rail line, which traverses the stretch of EDSA from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City.
On Thursday, the Philippine government, through the Department of Finance (DOF), and the Japanese government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), signed an P18-billion loan agreement for the MRT-3 Rehabilitation Project.
The project, which will run until 2022, will cover rehabilitation and maintenance of all sub-components of the train line, including its electro-mechanical systems, power supply, and rail tracks, among others.
The project will also include the overhaul of all of MRT-3's 72 Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs), all of which are 18 years old.