MANILA – Senator Juan Edgardo ‘Sonny’ Angara on Friday pushed for the immediate passage of a bill granting 20-percent student fare discount on all kinds of public transportation utilities, including the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) systems.
“Majority of Metro Manila students, who depend on the affordability of LRT and MRT, will definitely suffer from the recent fare hike,” Angara said.
”We should assist the parents and students in shouldering transportation expenses relative to the rising cost of education in our country,” he said.
Presently, the grant of student fare discounts in jeepneys and buses is only through a memorandum circular of the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Angara has filed Senate Bill No. 203 seeking to put the thrust of the LTFRB circular forward by institutionalizing the grant of discount privilege to students on all land, water, air and rail transport utilities.
If enacted, the 20-percent discount will apply to regular domestic fares in airplanes and ferries, while the LRT and MRT are mandated to designate a student/senior citizen fare booth in their boarding stations.
Student fare discount will also be applicable not only during school days but also on weekends and holidays.
Students who are refused the fare discount privilege may file their complaints with the LTFRB, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), or the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) for the LRT and MRT.
Drivers, conductors or inspectors of land transport utilities, and firms, establishments or agencies of water, air and rail transport utilities who refuse to provide discounts will be fined and penalized with suspension of license.
Angara said when he studied in London, he was able to avail of student discounts on airfare and public transport, including bus and rail transit system.
“If students from highly developed countries like UK can benefit from fare discounts, I think our underprivileged Filipino students need and deserve more this kind of assistance from the government,” he said.
The House of Representatives has already approved on third and final reading a counterpart version of the bill in November last year.
“I am appealing to our colleagues here in the Senate to pass our version so as to lessen the impact of current economic difficulties brought by the rising cost, not only of the LRT and MRT fares, but of basic commodities and education as well,” Angara said.
Recently, the DOTC increased the fare rates of MRT and LRT by Php1 for every kilometer after several years of deferment.
This resulted in new maximum fare rates of Php 28 from Php 15 on MRT 3; Php 30 from Php 15 for LRT Line 1; and Php 24 from Php 15 for LRT 2.