Commuters crowd the various levels of the stairs as they wait in line to ride the MRT-3, which only had six trains during morning rush hour at the North Avenue station in Quezon City yesterday. At right, Sen. Grace Poe conducts a hearing on the problems plaguing the MRT-3.    

Michael Varcas, Geremy Pintolo
DOTr: 15 MRT trains running after Holy Week
Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - February 21, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has given assurance that as many as 15 trains will be running on the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) line by April once the scheduled overhaul of the system is completed during the Holy Week break.

Transportation Undersecretary Timothy James Batan told the Senate committee on public services during its hearing on the MRT-3 yesterday that there are currently only seven trains running daily.

With the spare parts for the trains already with the DOTr, Batan assured the public that as many as 10 trains would be running by the end of the month.

Ideally, Batan said, the MRT-3 should have 20 trains running in order to accommodate the volume of passengers taking the vital mass transit system during peak hours daily.

Apart from the train system itself, Batan said the signaling system for MRT-3 is also scheduled for rehabilitation.

He said orders have been placed for the signaling components from Canadian firm Bombardier, which committed to deliver them within seven weeks.

Batan said the DOTr has asked Bombardier to work on delivering the spare parts as soon as these become available so that they could start working on the rehabilitation of the signaling system.

According to Batan, the maintenance of the line has been difficult because of the lack of available spare parts and the poor state of the rail tracks.

Because of poor maintenance over the years, Batan noted the tracks have suffered from early deterioration.

He said it would take two years to complete the rehabilitation of the tracks because of the short window available to them daily to work on the line.

Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the committee, said riders of the MRT-3 deserve better service during their daily commute.

Poe said the people responsible for the deterioration of the system should be held accountable and urged the Office of the Ombudsman to pursue the cases against the personalities involved.

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