Commuters blame privatization for train decay

Mar. 06, 2015

Train commuters believe that privatization, not low fares, caused train deterioration of the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT).

RILES spokesperson, Sammy Malunes, said the government is only trying to justify the LRT’s privatization and the fare hike.

“The MRT and LRT are in a dreadful condition because they were abandoned by government. What should have been a public service was turned into a private business,” Malunes said during a forum dubbed “Political will or midnight deal?: Legislators’ forum and media briefing on the Aquino-Ayala-Pangilinan LRT Concession Agreement.”

The forum was hosted by RILES Network and the Alliance against LRT Privatization.

The group insists that MRT and LRT fares in the last years have been “more than enough” to cover for their operation and maintenance, citing the LRT’s average fare box ratio of 1:25 from 2009-2013 while 81 percent of the MRT’s expenditures goes directly to the government’s financial obligations to private big businesses because of onerous contracts.

“The Aquino administration has allowed the Metro Rail Transit Corp.and its private maintenance service provider APT Global to continuously profit from neglecting commuters’ safety and protection,” said Malunes.

RILES also said the LRT privatization contract between the Aquino administration and the Ayala-Pangilinan consortium is “absolute state abandonment” of a basic public service which would give more burden and pose more danger to commuters.

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