LRT-1 seeks P5 to P7 fare hike

MANILA The Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC) is seeking a PHP5 to PHP7 fare increase on the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) to further improve its operations.

The LRT-1 operator said fare hikes are necessary to recoup the investments it has made to improve the railway system.

We actually submitted a petition for fare hike last March. What we are doing right now is coordinating with the LRTA (Light Rail Transit Authority) to go through the process. The process involves publishing, public consultations, and approval of the fare increase, LRMC President and Chief Executive Officer Juan Alfonso said in a press conference Tuesday.

What we are trying to recoup is the level of fares that we are supposed to be given as of 2018. We just want to keep the fare up to date and in accordance with the concession agreement, he added.

The LRMC is asking for an average of PHP5 fare increase and an upward adjustment of PHP7 for the end-to-end trip from Baclaran to Roosevelt stations.

The fare adjustments will take effect in August, once this is approved by the Department of Transportation.

LRT-1 riders are currently paying PHP30 on a trip going to Baclaran from Roosevelt.

Under its concession deal with the government, the fares could be adjusted by 10 percent every two years.

"If the fare increase is not granted under the concession agreement, government ang magsu-subsidize. If hindi, may dispute resolution measure kami. I think the agreement is very clear," Alfonso said.

To date, the LRMC has invested PHP7.5 billion on the improvement of operational efficiencies and customer experience on LRT-1, resulting in increased number of trains, reduced queuing time, and improved security and facilities of the railway system.

As of March 2018, the fleet of the LRT-1 has reached 109 cars, which is projected to further increase to 121 cars by yearend.

This resulted in the 9.7-percent increase in average daily trips from 505 to 554 trips daily.

Average daily ridership in the first quarter of this year was at 459,400, increasing by 4 percent year on year.

LRMC has also reported zero failure notice on train availability, punctuality, and reliability during the period.

Lahat ng improvements namin ay may costs. We feel that people are willing to pay for good service. The fare adjustment will allow us to continue giving good service to our commuters, Alfonso said.

LRMC is a consortium put up by Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Ayala Corp., and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings and took over the operations and management of LRT-1 in September 2015. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency