THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said it has set an initial date for the public consultation on the fare hike appeal of Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1).
In a message to BusinessWorld, DoTr director for communications Goddes Hope O. Libiran said the application of LRT-1 operator Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) is currently being processed.
“Tentatively, a public consultation will be held on July 11. But, LRMC will publish the final date in newspapers once the date is confirmed with LRTA (Light Rail Transit Authority),” she said.
However, LRMC said in a text message it has yet to receive an update on its fare hike petition.
LRMC submitted in March an application to raise the fares in the LRT-1 by P5 to P7. A 5% fare hike every two years is part of its LRT-1 concession agreement with the government.
However, the initial petition of LRMC in 2016 was not granted by the DoTr, which led it to appeal in 2018 for a cumulative 10% increase.
The current fare for the LRT-1 is P15, P20 and P30, depending on distance. Since LRMC took over the operations and maintenance of the train system in September 2015, it has never increased fares. The last fare hike was in January 2015.
In a briefing in May, LRMC Chief Executive Officer Juan F. Alfonso said the fare adjustment is based on the average fare of P20.
“What we’re doing right now is coordinating with LRTA (Light Rail Transit Authority) to go through the process. The process involves publishing, and then public consultation, and then approval if we’re allowed to increase the fares,” he said.
Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John R. Batan told reporters last month DoTr needs to conduct its due diligence first before it grants the petition.
“There’s a process for this… and we’re going through that process. Part of that process is listening to the public, reviewing the financials, reviewing the legal aspect. So it’s going to be considered with all of those facets in mind,” he said.
LRMC is the consortium of Ayala Corp., Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp., a unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd.
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