Petitions Filed to the Supreme Court to Stop the LRT/MRT Fare Increase

Two separate petitions were filed by a leftist group and a former congressman to the Supreme Court on Monday, January 5, 2015 in an effort to stop the fare increase for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), effective January 5, 2015. The petitions were filed by Bagong Alyang Makabayan (Bayan) and former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco.

MRT LRT Increase

According to the militant group Bayan, they filed a petition for certiorari, through its representatives led by Bayan Secretary General, Renato Reyes Jr., as they asked the Supreme Court to annul and set aside Department Order (DO) o. 2014-014, dated December 18, 2014, of the DOTC, which mandates the “Uniform Distance-Based Fare Scheme” for LRT Lines 1 and 2, and MRT line 3, and served as the basis for the recent fare increase.

Based upon the Bayan petition, the petitioners accused DOTC Secretary Jose Emilio Abaya for acting with grave abuse of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed Department Order (DO). They pointed out that both the LRT and MRT are “public services” and must be “subject to regulation, and their fare rate may not be adjusted unilaterally.”

The petitioners also stressed that the assailed DO is “void” since Abaya “has no authority/jurisdiction to resolve the fare adjustment/increases of LRT/MRT as ‘public services.'” The Fare Rate increase must be subject also to prior public notice and hearing.

Meanwhile, another separate petition was also filed by ex-Iloilo Representative Augusto Syjuco which urged the Supreme Court to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop the fare rate increase of the LRT and MRT. Rep. Syjuco accused the DOTC of grave abuse of discretion in ordering the implementation of the fare hike.

The fare increase will affect millions of passengers for the both the MRT and the LRT. The previous maximum fare for LRT was P20 for stored value ticket; with the increase this will be now P29 for stored value tickes and P30 for single journey tickets which represents a 50% hike.

For the MRT 3, the previous maximum fare was P15 for single journey; now it is at P28. This is an 87% increase from the previous maximum fare.

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