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DoTr to raise MRT 3 minimum fare next year

MANILA, Philippines, December 10 ------ After the increase in the fares in the Light Rail Transit Line 1 and Line 2 (LRT 1 and LRT 2) in August, passengers need to brace for a hike in fares of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3) by next year. Timothy John Batan, transportation undersecretary for planning and project development, said the fare adjustment in MRT 3, the busiest among the trains traversing the metro, would be used to subsidize other government programs and projects.  


In a press briefing on Friday, Batan said the fare increase for MRT 3 would “match” the adjustments in the fares implemented in LRT 1 and LRT 2, which was P2.29 in boarding fare and a P0.21 increase per kilometer. Once the proposal is implemented, the minimum fare at the MRT 3 would go up from P13 to P16, and fare from the rail line’s end-to-end stations would increase from P28 to P34. Batan did not specify when the MRT 3 fare hike will be implemented, but he said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is eyeing to implement it sometime in 2024. “We will make an announcement on its effectivity. The public will just have to wait. Our target is not to implement it immediately. We will issue an advance notice to all the passengers so they will not be surprised with the adjusted fares,” he said. 


No fare adjustment was approved for the MRT 3 for the past eight years. MRT 3 runs along Edsa from Taft Avenue in Pasay to North Avenue in Quezon City and caters to more than 350,000 passengers a day. The two other rail lines, the LRT 1, which runs from Baclaran to Fernando Poe Jr. Station in Quezon City, and the LRT 2 from Antipolo City in Rizal to Recto in Manila, implemented fare adjustments on Aug. 2. In July, the DOTr said the MRT 3’s fare hike petition was refiled after its previous filing was disapproved for failure to issue a notice of public hearing on time. “We will not increase fares without reason. This is based on the maintenance and operations cost and to reduce government subsidy,” Batan said. 


The government is currently subsidizing a significant portion of MRT 3 fares. According to the DOTr, the actual end-to-end fare per passenger of MRT 3 is at P115, which means that the government is currently shouldering P87 per passenger per ride. The DOTr is studying its options for the privatization of the MRT 3 once its build-lease-transfer contract with Metro Rail Transit Corp. lapses in 2025. In September, the DOTr said it would engage the Asian Development Bank and the International Finance Corp. for the terms of reference (TOR) of a contract bundling the MRT 3 and LRT 2 as a public-private partnership project and the TOR is expected to be completed by the second or third quarter of next year. 




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