MANILA - Sen. Grace Poe on Thursday said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) should consider reserving part of MRT trains for "business class" passengers.
During the Senate hearing on the DOTr's budget, Poe said a netizen suggested this to encourage people who normally drive cars to ride the MRT instead and decongest EDSA.
Fares for the "business class" coaches could be double or triple the normal fare for the MRT, Poe said.
Poe said she initially thought this could be perceived as discriminatory, but added that "the reality is many pay for better services."
"Like kunyari sasakay ka ng eroplano di ba? Mayroong front seats na mas mahal, first to board, but you pay a premium," Poe said.
(Like when you get on flights, there are front seats, you can be the first to board, but you pay a premium.)
She said the higher fares could be used by the DOTr to fund its programs.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, meanwhile, said the DOTr could entertain Poe's proposal but only after the completion of the MRT's rehabilitation.
"Puwede pong pagtuunan ng pansin 'yan 'pag nagawa na 'yung kabuuan, matapos 'yung kabuuan ng gagawin ng Sumitomo [the firm contracted to rehabilitate the MRT]," Tugade said.
(We can look into that once everything is finished, once Sumitomo has done everything it needs to do.)
He said designating a business class section at the MRT would not be feasible now because the transit system is still having problems deploying enough coaches to service commuters.
Tugade, however, said there would be business class and first class sections in the North Rail, South Rail and Mindanao Railway projects.
The MRT, which runs the length of EDSA from Quezon City to Pasay City, ferried around 104.28 million passengers last year. It periodically suffers from breakdowns and other glitches.