Prioritize sustainability over free ridesTHE announcement this week by the Department of Transportation (DoTr) that students will now be able to ride three of the four commuter rail lines free of charge was certainly a generous decision. The burden of subsidies on the part of the government, as well as the critical need to ensure the financial sustainability of the rail operations, however, may need further consideration. DoTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said that students with proper ID would be exempt from fares on the LRT 2, MRT 3, and Philippine National Railways (PNR) lines during select morning and afternoon hours. The fare exemption does not apply to the LRT 1 line, as it is privately operated. In addition, students will also be exempt from paying terminal fees at airports and seaports managed by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) from July 16.The fare exemption program, Tugade explained, “is to give students incentives to go to school early and go home early. As we give benefits [of] free transport expense, we are trying to create a culture for a true student.” Whether student behavior really ought to be a top-of-mind priority for the Transportation… Read full this story
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