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MRT/LRT fare hikes defeat the very purpose of mass transportation – Anakbayan

July 30, 2010

Youth group calls on Aquino to control electricity rates instead

Youth group Anakbayan expressed its outrage today over the announcement of the DOTC (Dept. of Transportation and Communications) that a fare increase in the MRT and LRT mass transit lines is ‘inevitable’.

In an interview yesterday, DOTC undersecretary Dante Velasco said they would adopt a ‘users pay-concept’ for the MRT and LRT, which in essence removes the subsidies currently enjoyed by patrons of the above-mentioned mass transit lines.

A trip from one end to another of the MRT costs P15. According to Velasco, the real costs of that trip reaches up to P60 per passenger.

“This is not a daang matuwid, but rather a literal daang mahal. Increasing the MRT/LRT fares will defeat the very purpose of mass transportation systems” said Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce.

Velasco tried to justify the increase, saying the operational costs of the MRT and LRT, including the electricity rates, have increased.

Dulce however dismissed the DOTC’s explanation as ‘short-sighted’.

He said “Mass transportation has benefits that outweigh the primitive economics being cited by the DOTC. Not only does reduce the costs of commuting for many Filipinos, it also helps in lessening the number of other vehicles being used. This leads to a reduction in traffic jams, air pollution along major roads, and the total amount of fuel being used”.

The youth leader cited a study by the U.S-based Brookings Institution said public vehicles used half of the fuel required by cars, SUVs, and light trucks. The same study said that for every mile travelled, private vehicles produce 95% more carbon monoxide and 50% more carbon dioxide than private vehicles.

In another study, this time in Japan, it was calculated that rail systems consumed an equivalent of 6 kilo watts per hour (kwh) for every 100 kilometers (km), while buses consumed 19 kwh per 100 km, and cars consumed 68 kwh per 100 km.

“Take the MRT’s half-a-million daily commuters for example. Without the MRT, these commuters would translate into hundreds of more buses and taxis clogging our major roads” said Dulce.

He added “Besides, raising fares is a myopic solution on the part of the government. Why not address the root causes they themselves have cited, such as rising electricity charges?”

The youth group has previously called on the Aquino administration to control and reduce electricity rates by junking the EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) which the group points to as the culprit for rising electric charges.

Under its GRAM (Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism), NAPOCOR (National Power Corporation) is seeking to raise its rates by 62.51, 9.73, and 11.22 centavos per kilowatt hour in Luzon, VIsayas, and Mindanao respectively.

NAPOCOR is also seeking another hike, this time with the ICERA (Incremental Currency Exchange Rate Adjustment). The increases under the ICERA are: 63.61, 7.04, and 3.99 centavos per kilowatt hour.

Both the GRAM and the ICERA are charges that were only allowed with the passing of the EPIRA. ###


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