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New Transport chief Roxas: LRT-MRT fare hike needed


UPDATED 11:45 a.m. - Newly-installed Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who earlier claimed that he intends to be the President's "pain reliever," said the fares of the Light and Metro Rail Transit (LRT/MRT) systems should be hiked, an issue that has been hounding the Aquino administration for months. In an interview over radio dzBB after riding the MRT on Friday morning, Roxas said there was a need to raise funds to increase the number of trains. "Kulang ang mga bagon. May dalawang solution diyan. [Dagdag na] bagon at pagsasa-ayos ng signaling software para mapadali ang pag-alis at pagdating ng mga tren. Ang kabahagi ng solution, dagdag singil. Saan tayo kukuha ng pera?" he said. Roxas did not specify any figure for fare hike. The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) that he now heads has yet to implement a fare hike it earlier proposed. Roxas noted that at present, the government subsidizes the fare of LRT/MRT passenger by as much as P50 each. "Ang punto, kung magdadagdag tayo ng bagon kailangan bayaran natin yan," he said. Riding the MRT Roxas said he rode the MRT after hearing complaints that LRT and MRT trains often break down during rush hours. He said he received a briefing about the situation of the LRT and MRT systems on Thursday but wanted to see for himself what were actually happening during rush hours. "Kahapon [Thursday] nagpa-brief ako tungkol sa mga plano. Iba ang papel, iba ang makikita mo ang sitwasyon," Roxas said. "Kaya kaninang umaga [Friday] tantsa ko 7 a.m. rush hour sumakay ako sa MRT, nakita ko ang sitwasyon kung saan pumipila ang mga tao. Kawawa naman pumipila sila ng 30 minuto para makasakay. Pag sa platform, 3–4 tren muna ang dadaan bago makasakay," he added. "Paracetamol" As he took his oath as the new Transportation chief on July 4, Roxas, a former senator and defeated runningmate of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, said he hopes to act as a "pain reliever" to the president. "Inaasahan ko na magiging paracetamol ako," Roxas told reporters. Roxas is the ruling Liberal Party's president while Aquino is the party's chairman. Roxas has a pending electoral protest against Vice President Jejomar Binay at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. Improvement plans Roxas said his plan to improve the LRT-MRT services involves a seamless connection especially between the LRT and MRT near the SM North EDSA mall. He said the plan is to upgrade the software of the LRT and MRT so they can use a common card. "Pinaaayos natin ang software ng MRT at LRT para magkatugma ang mga ito nang sa ganun iisang card lang ang gagamitin," he said. — LBG/VVP, GMA News
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