Metro Manila, Philippines— Commuters taking the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) may pay more by the end of the second quarter next year, nine years after the last fare hike, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Monday.

The end-to-end fare of ₱28 from North Avenue to Taft Avenue stations may be adjusted to ₱34 and the minimum fare of ₱13 will increase to ₱16 if regulators approve the petition, Jorjette Aquino, DOTr MRT-3 officer-in-charge and assistant secretary for railways, said in a public briefing.

Aquino said the train operator has yet to refile a notarized petition after the regulators disapproved the fare hike request, while approving the LRT Manila Light Rail Transit System fare adjustment in July.

“Ang aming nire-request ay additional ₱2.29 boarding fare, at 21 centavos distance fare, ibig sabihin kada-kilometro, madadagdagan ng ₱0.21 ang pamasahe, ito ay kapareho doon sa na-approve na hiningi at na-aprubahan ng DOTr para sa LRT Line 1 at Line 2,” Aquino said.

[Translation: We are requesting an additional ₱2.29 boarding fare, and 21 centavos distance fare, this means that for each kilometer, there will be an additional ₱0.21 fare price. This is similar to the approved request of DOTr for LRT Line-1 and Line-2.]

“Baka mga end of second quarter next year… Baka end of March or beginning of April,” she added.

[Translation: Maybe at the end of the second quarter next year…Maybe at the end of March or beginning of April.]

In a separate statement on Monday, the DOTr said that the MRT-3 fare hike will have “minimal effect” on inflation.

She noted that the MRT-3 has increased its annual passenger ridership from around 98 million in 2022 to 170 million in January to October this year, or 20% higher.

However, despite the increase in ridership and revenue, Aquino said that there is an existing ₱6.2 billion deficit because passengers should actually pay ₱69 for end-to-end trips instead of ₱28.

“So ito ay may kakulangan na ₱41 kada pasahero, dulo sa dulo,” she said. [So the passengers actually have ₱41 deficient payment.]

As a result, the DOTr said the government subsidized ₱41 per MRT-3 passenger.

Citing the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) comments on the petition, the DOTr said that with the proposed petition of minimum fare of ₱16 and end-to-end fare of ₱34 will help the government subsidy per passenger.

“Additional revenue will provide financial support to the DOTr, which in turn, will actually ease yung pressure from the national government to increase its subsidy for MRT-3,” Aquino said.

She said proceeds from the fare adjustment will be spent for the maintenance and operating expenses of the train line. In particular, Aquino identified the purchase of travel safety equipment and configuration of four-car train sets, which she said can cater to 1,576 passengers for each train set.