ERAP ORDERS HIGH FARES FOR EDSA-MRT REDUCED
Manila, Nov. 13, 1999 - Concerned that the fares which the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) plans to charge commuters are way beyond their reach, President Joseph "Erap" Ejercito Estrada has ordered Secretary Vicente Rivera Jr. of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to bring them down to more affordable levels.
The President issued this order to Rivera in a memorandum dated Nov. 11, 1999.
"To make the rates affordable to our people and in view of the current difficulties being experienced due to oil price increases, you are hereby directed to make sure that the rates are lowered to an affordable rate as long as such reduction of rates will not entail any additional cost to the government," Mr. Estrada said.
The Chief Executive also ordered Rivera to "undertake the necessary arrangements" to make sure that the lower rates are in effect when the MRT-3 starts operating next month.
In issuing the memorandum, the President said it was brought to his attention that the MRT-3, whose slogan is "EDSA Para sa Masa (EDSA for the Masses)," plans to charge P44 for the full route.
The full route initially covers North Avenue in Quezon City to Buendia in Makati City. MRT-3 planners aim to connect MRT-3 to Pasay City by April 2000.
Mr. Estrada said he was further informed that the MRT-3 operators plan to charge P20 for the ride from North Avenue to Quezon Boulevard in Quezon City.
"Please undertake the necessary arrangements to ensure that the lowered rates are in effect when the MRT-3 starts operating by December," the President instructed Rivera.
The MRT-3, dubbed the "MetroStar Express," aims to considerably reduce traffic and pollution along EDSA, a major thoroughfare in Metro Manila.
Last Aug. 26, the President ordered the MRT contractors to speed up work on the project so it can be operational beginning on Dec. 8.
Rivera had said the MRT is expected to cut travel time from North Triangle to Buendia by 15 percent, and reduce the dependence on buses that ply the line.
Earlier, the President also ordered the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) to rollback the LRT fare pending public hearings on the fare increase.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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