Commuters enraged by MRT-LRT fare hike  

10 Oct
Commuter led by Riles Network stormed the DOTC office to protest against the planned MRT-LRT fare hike.

Commuter led by Riles Network stormed the DOTC office to protest against the planned MRT-LRT fare hike.

MRT and LRT commuters led by the Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) Network stormed the office of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to protest the government’s plan to increase fares in all lines of the country’s elevated railway system.

“We are enraged by the Aquino government’s insistent push to burden us commuters by increasing fares in the MRT and LRT just to honor its onerous sweetheart privatization deals with big capitalists. Aquino is giving an early Christmas gift to big business private contractors by forcibly taking billions from the pockets of the riding public,” said Sammy Malunes, RILES Network spokesperson.

The commuter’s group also accused the government of spreading lies and trying to deceive the public in trying to dampen public outrage against the planned fare hike.

“DOTC secretary Pabaya is just trying to deceive the riding public by claiming there would be no fare hike this month. The truth is the hike was already considered approved when the government signed the privatization deal with the Ayala-Pangilinan consortium and is just awaiting implementation once public outrage cools down,” Malunes claimed.

Commuter led by Riles Network stormed the DOTC office to protest against the planned MRT-LRT fare hike.

Commuter led by Riles Network stormed the DOTC office to protest against the planned MRT-LRT fare hike.

According to Malunes, the planned fare hike is just the start of a series of increases as the government has already given the Light Rail Manila Consortium owned by the Ayala Corp. and Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investments the freedom to increase fares every two years starting August 2016 with the recently-signed LRT privatization deal.

Malunes also belied the government’s claim that the fare hike is needed to improve the services of the MRT and LRT, saying the government has enough funds to operate, maintain and even expand the operations of the country’s railway system.

“With more than a million passengers riding all three lines a day, the MRT and LRT generate more than enough income for their operations and maintenance. That’s the reason why big businesses are drooling over and trying to buy them. The government and big business are just using the MRT and LRT’s terrible conditions to try to justify the fare hike and attract more private contractors and investors,” he said.

The RILES Network insisted that there is no need for a fare hike, because the actual cost of a P15 ride in the MRT and LRT, which can cover operations and maintenance, is just about P9 and the remaining P6 goes directly to the guaranteed profits of private contractors under onerous contracts and to pockets of corrupt government officials.

“There is no need to increase fares in the MRT and LRT. We commuters are already paying more than what we ought to pay. We will not allow this government to push through with its plan of burdening the riding public for private profits. We assure this government that we will hold bigger and bolder protests to stop the fare hike just as we did in its past attempts,” Malunes said. ###

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