LRT fare hike up to P35 by August, franchise agreement anomalous – BAYAN

MANILA- From a P20 charge, commuters will need to pay an additional P15 for the Light Rail Transit fare starting August, according to the group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN).

The group claims that the concession agreement between the Aquino administration and Ayala-Metro Pacific consortium is highly anomalous.

BAYAN secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. said that the deal between the administration and the Ayala-Metro Pacific consortium involves not only the construction of a new line, but leads to the privatization of the operations of existing line from Baclaran to Roosevelt.

As early as August 1, the new boarding fee will be P12.13 and the distance fare per kilometer would be P1.10. This computation is based on the concession agreement and the initial ‘notional fare.’

“An end-to-end trip from Baclaran to Roosevelt may reach as high as P35 from the current P20,” Reyes added.

Once the extension project is completed, the private operator is assured of a 5-percent fare increase said Reyes. A fare adjustment will follow through every two years which would total to a 10.25 percent increase.

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Reyes claims that the concession agreement signed between the Ayala-Metro Pacific consortium and the Aquino administration is ‘lopsided and inimical to the interest of the public.’  He demanded the Department of Transportation and Communication to fully disclose the terms of the privatization of the LRT 1 train line and the expansion to Bacoor, Cavite. He believes that the contract taken by the conglomerate would be grossly disadvantageous to the government and the commuters.

He added that the agreement signed by the two parties included so many guarantees for the company that their investment becomes risk free.

“All the risks will be passed on to the commuters and the government,” Reyes said.

Last year, DOTC Secretary Emilio Abaya said that the increase will be imposed this 2014. The said fare increase was proposed  to cut back the expenses of the government for train operations.

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