MRT, LRT fares lowest in Asia, lawmaker says

Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - January 25, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Fares for the mass rail transit systems in Metro Manila are still the lowest in Asia despite the increase that took effect last Jan. 4, an administration congressman said yesterday.

“Minimum fares for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines in Manila have remained the same for 11 years, while those for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) along EDSA have remained unchanged for 13 years. They are both P15, while bus fare is P32,” Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said.

In peso terms, he said the Orange Line of the Tokyo Metro charges a boarding fare of P40 and P3.92 per kilometer. 

“If we applied the same rate to LRT-1, that would be P110.49 and P90.91 for LRT-2. For MRT-3 the same rate would amount to P106.57,” he said.

On its West Rail Line, the Hong Kong MTR charges a boarding fare of P23.20 and P2.43 per kilometer, which translates to P66.91 on LRT-1, P54.77 on LRT-2 and P64.48 on MRT-3, if the rates applied locally, he said.

The Singapore MRT, on the other hand, charges a boarding fare of P28.49 and P1.33 for every kilometer on its NS and EW Lines, but if the rate was applied here, it would cost P52.47 on LRT-1, P45.81 on LRT-2 and P51.13 on MRT-3.

On its NE and Circle Lines, the Singapore MRT charges a boarding fare of P29.23 and P1.36 per kilometer, but that still translates to P53.75 on LRT-1, P46.94 on LRT-2 and P52.39 on MRT-3, Evardone, who is a member of the House committee on transportation, said.

Need to invest

Evardone said while “all Filipinos dream of a system like our neighbors, but we need to invest in rails. If we don’t invest in it we’ll never get there.”

Comparing the previous LRT and MRT fares to those of other countries, he said boarding fare was a uniform P9, plus 61 centavos per kilometer on LRT-1, 46 centavos on LRT-2 and 35 centavos on MRT-3.

“With the new fares, the boarding fare is only P11 with P1 per kilometer,” he added.

DOTC rolls out MRT projects

Less than a month after raising fares, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has started rolling out projects to improve the operations of the MRT-3.

The DOTC published Friday a Request for Expression of Interest, inviting interested companies to provide consultancy services for the MRT-3 system.

MRT-3 and Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) spokesman Hernando Cabrera said the consulting firm would provide assistance and guidance in all matters of the operations and maintenance of the mass transit system.

The agency has earmarked P50 million under the General Appropriations Act of 2015 to finance the consultancy services. The DOTC is set to hold a pre-eligibility conference on Jan. 30 and interested companies are given until Feb. 6 to submit their eligibility documents.

The biggest project is the acquisition of 48 brand new trains for P3.76 billion from CNR Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. of China. The project would increase the MRT-3’s capacity by 66 percent to 800,000 passengers per day.

The DOTC also published an invitation to bid for the supply and delivery of 60 traction motors for the Czech-made RT8D5M light rail vehicles (LRVs) worth P91.7 million.

Last Tuesday, not a single bidder showed up for the P2.4-billion three-year maintenance contract for the MRT-3. This was the second time that not a single bid was submitted for the project after the DOTC declared a failed bidding last Oct. 29.

The DOTC has extended the contract of Autre Potre Technique Global Inc. (APT), which expired last Sept. 5, to maintain the aging mass transit system along EDSA that ferries close to 550,000 passengers per day as against a design capacity of 350,000. – With Lawrence Agcaoili, Paolo Romero


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