MRT-3 logs P6.2B deficit with deferred fare hike

(Photo/Analy Labor)
(Photo/Analy Labor)

The Metro Rail Transit Line 3 or MRT-3 management is seeking to adjust its fare system to help address ongoing operational and financial challenges due to higher operations and maintenance costs on top of significant foregone revenues.

During a press briefing on Monday, Transportation Assistant Secretary for Railways Jorjette B. Aquino disclosed that MRT-3 presently sustains P6.2 billion in deficit partly due to deferred fare increase implementation.

Aquino said the proper fare for an end-to-end MRT 3 ride—from Taft Ave. Station to North Ave. Station—should be P69. However, passengers only pay P28 for the said route.

"As everyone can see, the MRT 3 system is now much better, far more efficient, with more trains running and serving more passengers. The P41 government subsidy for each passenger from end to end is expected to decrease. We believe this fare increase is also in the interest of the future of the rail system," Aquino said.

In January, the MRT sought to adjust its fares by adding P2.29 as boarding fare and a 21-centavo increase for each kilometer traveled.

Once the petition is approved, the MRT-3 management is expected to raise its income by about P55 million, which will help increase the capacity of each train set by 394 passengers to 1,576 passengers.

"We expect to submit a notarized position paper to the chairman of the Rail Regulatory Unit of the DOTr this week. We anticipate that within the next month or weeks, we will be issued a notice of public hearing," Aquino said.

Once the MRT 3 receives that, it will be required to publish its petition in a newspaper of general circulation for three consecutive weeks.

In a previous interview, Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista said the agency is currently studying the proposed imminent fare hike to ensure that its approval will not adversely hurt the pockets of daily passengers.

"The MRT-3 fare hike will push through but not now. We are still reviewing it so it will likely happen by next year," Bautista said.

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