Privatization, not low fares caused decay of MRT-LRT – RILES

5 Mar

Commuter group Riles Laan sa Sambayanan (RILES) Network refuted the Aquino government’s claim that cheap fares is the cause in the deterioration of the MRT and LRT, saying the poor conditions of the country’s elevated railway system is caused by its privatization.

Photo from Jacque Manabat of ABS-CBN News

Photo from Jacque Manabat of ABS-CBN News

In a forum dubbed “Political will or midnight deal?: Legislators’ forum and media briefing on the Aquino-Ayala-Pangilinan LRT Concession Agreement,” hosted by RILES Network and the Alliance against LRT Privatization, RILES spokesperson Sammy Malunes blamed the privatized setting of the MRT and LRT for the elevated railway system’s inefficient service.

“The Aquino government should stop mouthing these baseless alibis to try to justify the LRT’s privatization and the burdensome fare hike. The MRT and LRT are in a dreadful condition because they were abandoned by the government. What should have been a public service was turned into a private business,” Malunes said.

RILES insisted that MRT and LRT fares in the last years have been more than enough to cover for its operation and maintenance, citing the LRT’s average farebox ratio of 1.25 from 2009-2013 while 81% of the MRT’s expenditures goes directly to the government’s financial obligations to private big businesses because of onerous contracts.

“The recent consecutive accidents in the MRT are the results of the Aquino government’s neglect for the riding public. The Aquino government has allowed the Metro Rail Transit Corporation and its private maintenance service provider APT Global to continuously profit from neglecting commuters’ safety and protection,” said Malunes.

RILES also slammed the LRT privatization contract between the Aquino government and the Ayala-Pangilinan consortium, which it described as “absolute state abandonment” of a basic public service which would give more burdens and pose more dangers to commuters.

“The LRT privatization is another bane to commuters. Through a lopsided Public-Private Partnership contract, Aquino forces us to pay higher fares and taxes under anti-commuter schemes such as the users-pay and the periodic fare adjustments,” Malunes said.

The commuter group meanwhile expressed hope that the forum with lawmakers and media people would be helpful to commuters in opposing the LRT privatization. The RILES Network also asked lawmakers to side with the riding public in the fight for a safe, efficient and affordable mass transport system. ###


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