Thoughts on the LRT/MRT fare hike

So recently in Manila, the DOTC increased the fare for the LRT/MRT by around double the amount that is usually paid. You do have to take note that they do not do this willy-nilly; in fact, this is the first fare hike in a while. A long while. Not sure how long that “while” is, but it’s pretty long. We’re talking years long. Like, more-than-five-years-ago long.¬†Naturally, the people are not happy. I, on the other hand, don’t have issues with the price hike. I have issues, though, with the way people are responding to it.

Issue#1: “According to GMA News, some passengers earlier today were still shocked of the fare hike.” (http://www.wheninmanila.com/mrt-and-lrt-fare-hike-starts-today/)

HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW ABOUT THE FARE HIKE??? It was all everybody could talk about before the Christmas season started. And in early 2014, there already were rumors of the impending fare hike. That and that was all anyone could broadcast for the past few weeks (aside from the usual human interest story and the Pope’s visit). It was even in the newspapers. People were arguing against it. The article even said that there were signs posted in the station two weeks before it was implemented. HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW??? Seriously, you have no one but yourself to blame for not knowing.

Issue#2: You get what you pay for.

If you want shitty service, be my guest and oppose the fare hike. If you would compare the fare for all the LRT/MRT services in all the other countries with that of ours, you would notice one thing. That ours is a lot cheaper. Look at the state of our LRT/MRT compared to theirs. Theirs is a lot more convenient and goes to many more places while ours is severely limited. You may argue that these countries (like Singapore, or in the case of Hong Kong, which is not exactly a country but you get my point) are well-off compared to ours and that’s something I can’t deny. But the principle is the same, I guess. You have to be willing to pay for a premium service. The fastest way to get around Metro Manila is using the LRT/MRT, and also the cheapest way. It doesn’t make much sense in the business perspective. You have to make it their while to make the service better. If only the government is running it, then it would be okay-ish (I guess) for it to run at a deficit. You have to remember, though, that it is essentially run by a private company. Why should they upgrade the facilities, buy more trains and make it more convenient for us when it doesn’t even let them earn that much money. In a business sense, it’s a waste of time. Look at Hong Kong. There was this one time that my fare reached around P120 (when converted) and I wasn’t even going from one end to the other. It was totally worth it, for not having to squeeze in with other people in a derelict train car, worry about it breaking down, or wait for 10 minutes to half an hour for another one to arrive (because it came like every 3 minutes). I knew that I was getting to my destination on time, not sweaty (because the air conditioning units all work) and without anyone’s body odor clinging to my clothes, and that’s what made the P120 worth it. If you want the same thing to happen here in Manila, you have to be willing to pay for it.

That’s all I can think of for now. I guess I’ll add onto this when I feel like writing again.

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