By HANNAH TORREGOZA
Senator Grace Poe has urged transportation officials to reconsider the planned raise of fares in the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1).
Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, yesterday appealed to the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) Board to suspend, or implement in phases, the increase in LRT-1 fares as she cited the spike of consumer prices due to Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
“While the concession agreement provides for a CPI-based (consumer price index) fare adjustment, the DoTr and the LRT board may also consider further delaying or instead effecting a staggered implementation of any fare hike to soften the impact on poor commuters who have been hit by the adverse effect of the TRAIN law to their shallow pockets,” Poe said in statement.
“This could be considered while the discussions on suspending some portions of the TRAIN law are ongoing,” she added.
The Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC), the private operator of LRT-1, on Tuesday announced that it will implement a R5 to R7 increase starting Aug. 1 this year.
While the LRTA Board has yet to take up and decide on the proposed fare hike, the LMRC said it would allow the LRT-1 to continue providing good service to its passengers.
In an interview at the Senate, Poe explained: “Para sa akin, sana kung pwede pang ipagpaliban ng kaunti, kasi sabay-sabay ‘yung pagtaas ng presyo ng transportasyon at bilihin.”
“Kasi ganito iyan, 500,000 ng mga kababayan natin ang gu magamit ng LRT, so 500,000 iyan, marami pa sa kanila mga empleyado talaga. So kung tataas ng 25 percent o 30-plus percent ang pamasahe, malaking dagok iyon sa kanila,” she added.
The plans to increase LRT-1 fares floated amid reported petitions for fare increase in land transport vehicles due to the surge in oil prices, and the imposition of the exccise tax on petroluem under the TRAIN law. Some senators have earlier called for the law’s suspension.
Poe said she hopes that the excise taxes under TRAIN will indeed be suspended should global oil pices reach $80 per barrel.