The government and their supporters for the increase have the argument that the LRT should not be subsidized by taxpayers from Visayas and Mindanao. If that is the case, then Luzon taxpayers should likewise not subsidize public utilities and infrastructures in the south (e.g., bridges, roads, airports, etc) since they also do not use those facilities. It is ironic that the metro rails are the main transportation choice of those coming from the south when they do travel to the capital city. It should be noted that governments have the responsibility to provide its citizens with affordable public conveyances, which all countries do, whether developed or not.
Sometime in November 2010 last year, my ticket was not accepted at the turnstile in Katipunan station. “See customer relations or ticket counter” was the lighted message on screen. When I presented my stored value ticket, the lady staff said the previous fare was not deducted so she entered the dilapidated plastic ticket and promptly deducted 14 pesos. Please note that the plastic tickets are all in poor state (creased and weathered).
Just last week, on the other hand, after pushing the ticket the turnstile did not open. The 14 pesos had been deducted, however. I put the ticket back again but noticed that another 11 pesos further reduced my stored value. I went to the ticket counter. The lady instantly referred me to a guy (whose name I already forgot) who simply told me that “No, they can’t do anything about the double deduction, since every time a ticket is passed through, it will be deducted. And, they don’t have a facility to add the “lost” value to the cheated ticket!”
It was not consoling that he only informed me of that quirkiness on that instance. They can deduct but they cannot add even if the operation is in error. He was so boringly enthusiastic telling me those things when I only wanted to hear was if they can just rectify the error. Which meant, can they just please reflect the lost 11 pesos back to my stored value? In so many “beating round the bush” statements, his honest answer was “NO” unfortunately!
Aside from that quirkiness, there’s also that obsessed lady guard, who during the morning rush hours really takes her time to rummage deeply inside the bags of passengers. And she happens to be working on the male queue every time. The other three, one female and two male guards on the male section, swiftly but thoroughly check the bags without causing any undue delay. They can dispose of two passengers to one of hers. I suspect that lady guard has a fetish for contents of masculine owned bags. Once, she asked me to open what obviously looks like a receptacle for a pair of eyeglasses. Geez. And she sees to it that she pokes her stick deep inside each bag. And also asks passengers to open all the zippers of their bags. (I wonder if she would be interested in another zipper down low!) Funny thing is that I haven’t since that one rotated to another duty or to the women’s queue. She’s always there, right smack in your face every morning rush hour, doing the guys. Makes one feel like puking just to see her profile!
And yes, they will institute fare increase come March. It used to be that the current rate would give me 7.5 rides @ 14 pesos per ride on a 100 peso stored value. With the increase @ 19 pesos per ride, there will only be 5.5 rides. That indeed will be a major setback for low wage earners, a majority of whom patronize the LRT.