Note : I am reposting this to join the various actions being done today by individuals/groups in social media and in train stations, against the MRT/LRT fare hike. I am also posting several links that will help you to examine this very important issue and encourage you to take a stand.
Here’s my blog repost: ( I published this in July 2013, after PNoy’s State of the Nation Address)
LOVING CHOO CHOOS and SAYING NO to LRT/MRT FARE HIKE
Our family loves trains. Train schedules play an important part in our short family trips around the city. If we really need to bring our son with us on a Wednesday ( Baclaran Day) or Friday ( Quiapo Day) schedule, we usually avoid the train rush hours. During family dates, we make it a point to catch the train’s last trip to avoid riding in super fast buses along EDSA or jeepneys in Avenida.
Rio’s definitely a train-lover. He adores trains so much, he sees and makes choo choo (In Rio talk, train equals choo choo.) from anything. He lines up coins, wooden blocks, toy cars and shouts, “Nanay, choo,choo!” when he’s done.
Our son’s choo-choo stage coincides with one of today’s hottest issues: the looming LRT/MRT fare hike. A P5.00 increase for this year (latest reports say it may be up by P7!) followed by another P5.00 next year was just reconfirmed by the Light Rail Transit Authority board.
( UPDATE: An end-to- end trip in LRT 1 and 2 will cost commuters Php10 more. In MRT 3, the additional cost for an end-to-end trip is Php13. (data from https://arnoldpadilla.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/lrtmrt-fare-hike-and-the-aquino-admins-irrational-baseless-claims/)
With the “choo-choo” fever spreading in our family, I can’t help but share some of my nanay insights on the plan to raise the rates of our most loved train lines.
1) Nanay’s budget tips may be useful to the government in dealing with LRT fare hikes.
Government asserts that it allots too much subsidy to LRT funds. PNoy in his last SONA stressed that raising train fares can lessen the subsidy it provides and rechannel these funds to other social services.
From a nanay’s “how to budget” perspective, it’s like saying “Anak, maglakad ka na lang para dagdag budget mo sa snacks.” As much as possible, we avoid pulling out funds for basic needs like food and transportation. A mother’s most feasible solution to lessen family expenses is to prioritize. This means, temporarily saying no to luxuries like new clothes, unnecessary family eat-outs, shopping trips or even rescheduling a family vacation.
Mass transportation like the public train system is a basic social service that should be on the priority list of the government. Look through the other items in the budget list and you can definitely cross out unneccessary ones. Why not scrap the P27B pork barrel funds? :-)
2) LRT fare hikes will definitely be an additional burden to all the Nanays and Tatays who ride the train to work.
A study by the Mega Manila Public Transport in 2007 says that 68% of train commuters earn less than P10,000 a month. A P7.00 increase this year would mean an additional P364.00 in their monthly expenses or P4,368 in a year.
A well-deserved family vacation in the province during one of the long weekends may be cancelled because of this added burden. Families will also face rising prices of food, utilities such as electricity and water without any increase in minimum wages.
3) We love trains that we demand for trains all over the country!
Pnoy in his SONA speech said “..in the end, each and every Filipino pays a share of the subsidy. Whether you live in Mindanao or Visayas, and not once have you ever stepped onto the LRT or MRT, you help to fund this.”
We want our son to explore our country and the most fun and hopefully most affordable way to do this is through train rides. We plan to try the Bicol trip offered by the Philippine National Railways very soon. So instead of those divisive remarks, we ask PNoy to build more trains in the country for everyone ( Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao folks) to enjoy.
In a few days, Rio will finally get his first toy train from her Ninang O. I hope Rio will not only enjoy toy trains but an improved, affordable and expanded public train system that will take him to all the wonderful places of our country!
Here are some links to help you understand why we should stop the MRT/LRT fare hike.
1) LRT/MRT fare hike and the Aquino admin’s irrational, baseless claims by Arnold Padilla
2) QnA on the approved MRT-LRT fare hike effective January 4, 2015 by Renato Reyes Jr. (BAYAN)
3) Video interview of Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares on the MRT-LRT Fare Hike Issue
4) Opponents List Reasons Why MRT-LRT fares Should Go Down Instead by Marya Salamat (Bulatlat.com)
Nanays, are your toddler in love with trains too? What are your thoughts on the LRT/MRT fare hike ? Come aboard and share your thoughts! Choo! Choo!