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LRT1, LRT2 fare hike approved but Marcos ordered implementation deferred —DOTr

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Tuesday announced that it has approved the fare hikes for Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines 1 and 2, but its implementation was deferred upon the directive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said Marcos ordered the deferment of the approved fare increases for LRT1 and LRT2 “pending a thorough study on the economic impact” to commuters.

For his part, Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez said the agency’s Rail Regulatory Unit (RRU) approved the fare hike petitions for the LRT1 and LRT2 which sought to upwardly adjust the train boarding fee by P2.29 with an additional 21 centavos for every kilometer traveled at the railway lines.

With the approved adjustments, the minimum boarding fee for the two lines would be increased to P13.29 from P11 and the per kilometer rate traveled of P1 will be hiked to P1.21 per kilometer.

Bautista said that the DOTr’s RRU endorsed the report favoring the fare increase for LRT lines 1 and 2.

However, the Transportation chief said the agency will comply with the President’s instruction and will carefully study the economic repercussions of the increase to passengers.

“In compliance with the President’s instruction, we will thoroughly study how a fare hike today will impact on passengers of our three rail lines in Metro Manila,” Bautista said.

The Cabinet official added that the fare hike petition for MRT-3 was likewise deferred “due to infirmities in complying with the requirements and procedure.”

To recall, the Metro Manila Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) has filed a petition with DOTR's RRU for a fare rate increase from P4 to P6 due to lack of income.

The DOTr secretary chairs the RRU and has the power to deny or approve proposed fare adjustments.

The last approved fare hike for rail lines LRT2 and MRT3 was back in 2015.

On the other hand, the LRT1, which was privatized in 2015, filed petitions for fare adjustments in 2016, 2018, 2020, and 2022, all of which, according to Secretary Bautista, were deferred.

The Light Rail Manila Corporation, which operates LRT1, is allowed to apply for fare adjustments “of at least 10.25% every two years after the effectivity of the contract,” Bautista said.

The Transportation chief said the proceeds of the increase would have been used for the technical capability, services and facilities of the two rail lines.

“The fare increase will enable the two rail lines’ [LRT1 and LRT2] to improve their services, facilities and technical capabilities,” he said.

“The fare adjustment will help sustain the two commuter rail lines’ affordable mass transport services,” he added. —KG, GMA Integrated News