Transport group PISTON slammed the planned fare increases in MRT and LRT lines, demanding the government more regulatory and social responsibility in improving the country’s public mass transport system to benefit the many and not the few big businesses who profit from the country’s corporate-driven transport industry.
The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) earlier petitioned for an additional P2.50 increase in the LRT-1 and LRT-2 while the MRT-3 is seeking a P3 to P4 fare increase. This means that if approved, LRT-1 and 2 fares will increase by as much as 16.7 percent and the MRT-3 by as much as 30.8 percent, which are both higher than the national rate of inflation.
PISTON said there should be a stronger public service mindset among transport authorities and the national government which has been heavily privatizing essential public utilities such as public mass transport while offering no welfare support to affected transport workers and passengers all trying to cope with the worsening economic crisis.
“Ang pagtataas ng pamasahe sa mga tren at ang pag-phaseout sa mga traditional jeepneys ay kailanman hindi magiging solusyon sa lumalalang krisis sa transportasyon na pinalulubha pa na ng pagtaas ng implasyon at mababang kita ng mga Pilipino,” said Mody Floranda, PISTON national president.
The LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3 all carry around a combined half a million passengers per day while jeepneys serve about 40% of all commuters in the country. Leaving mass transportation in the hands of big businesses, coupled with the planned phaseout of PUVs for corporate-driven “modernized” mini-buses will only make transport in the Philippines even more highly unreliable, said the group.