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‘No immediate LRT fare hike when LRMC takes over’

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - There will be no immediate fare increase once the Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) takes over operations and maintenance of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) on Saturday.

The assurance was given by Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which is part of the LRMC.

Pangilinan told reporters yesterday that the LRMC, which bagged the contract for the P65-billion LRT-1 Cavite extension project, is not inclined to implement fare hikes immediately when it assumes responsibility over operations of the train system.

He denied allegations that the firm would claim penalty payments from the government for the project.

This was despite a shortfall of about 10 percent on the current fare and what is committed under the concession agreement.

“When we take over, there is no intention to raise fares. It’s already there. The public is already paying the fare, which has been raised by the government. We will follow that fare increase,” he said.

While the 10-percent shortfall will not be a primary concern when the LRMC takes over LRT-1, he said there may be increases over time as the investments for the train system increase.

The group also denied allegations it had made claims to government for penalty payments for LRT-1.

“Speaking on the alleged claim whoever is making, there has been no claim principally because we have not taken over the system. How can a claim ripen? For us to lodge a claim now, there is no basis. We still don’t have a personality. We are just the awardee under the bidding last year,” Pangilinan said.

Last week, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan claimed that the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) requested the release of P7.519 billion from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as penalty payments for the project to LRMC.

ACIRC BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN CAVITE CLAIM DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS LIGHT RAIL MANILA CORP LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT LINE MANUEL V METRO PACIFIC INVESTMENTS CORP PANGILINAN
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