AT this time of economic hardship, when many people still find it hard to eat three times a day due to poverty, any proposal to raise train fares should not enjoy public support.
And many furious commuters, particularly employees and students, said that the major argument against the proposed rail transit system fare adjustment is poor train service.
Even Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade assured during a Senate hearing that any hike in train fares will only come after the government has improved train services.
Tugade told the senators that fare increases must be predicated on enhanced quality service.
In fact, the articulate secretary of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said that a fare hike “is totally not acceptable to me.”
Tugade’s decision not to approve petitions for rate increase in any of the three elevated train lines in the metropolis deserves the all-out support of the people, notably the poor.
Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto, an acknowledged economist, agreed with Tugade that train services must first be improved before the government can agree to any fare adjustment.
Any fare increase will burn a hole in the pockets of the country’s ordinary wage earners who, together with students, comprise the bulk of train passengers.
And in the view of various quarters, Tugade’s stand against train fare increases reflects sensitivity to public opinion.
Without doubt, the administration of crusading President Rodrigo R. Duterte is capable of upholding public interest.