MANILA -- The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Saturday assured the riding public that no fare hike will be carried out anytime soon for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3), unless improvements on facilities and operations are already completed.
“Mariin na instruction ni Secretary (Arthur) Tugade na hindi tayo mag-i-increase ng anumang pasahe hangga't hindi nararamdaman ng ating mga commuters ang improvements sa services ng MRT-3 (Secretary (Arthur) Tugade has instructed that there will be no fare increase until the commuters are able to experience improvements on the services of the MRT-3),” DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said in a statement.
THE MRT-3 last increased its fees in January 2015 to PHP11 as base fare plus PHP1 per kilometer.
The 16.9 kilometer rail line from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City currently accommodates an average of 300,000 passengers daily.
The Department of Finance and the Japan International Cooperation Agency has signed last Thursday the 38 billion Japanese yen or PHP18 billion loan agreement for the MRT-3 rehabilitation project.
The project includes the repair and maintenance of the system’s electromechanical components, power supply, rail tracks, and depot equipment, and overhaul of its 72 light rail vehicles.
The signing of the loan agreement paved the way for the entry of Japanese firm Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as the new maintenance provider of the MRT-3.
The DOTr expects an improvement in the MRT operations starting by the third quarter of next year as its passenger capacity gradually increases.
It also projects that the speed of the MRT trains would improve from 30 km. per hour (kph) to 60 kph with its headway time reduced from the current seven minutes to 3.5 minutes.
The number of trains are also expected to increase by 20 train sets from the current 15 trains during peak hours.
The upgrade of the MRT-3 will take about 43 months, with the first 26 months focused on the rehabilitation of the entire system. (PNA)
Photo from AFP/Business World