MANILA, Philippines – Dismal news for commuters who generally have to endure a 30 to 45 minute-wait in line to board the jam-packed Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-3. There will be no resolution to this miserable situation within the next two years.
This was revealed by Renato San Jose, director for operations of MRT-3 and the Light Rail Transit Authority, at yesterday’s Senate inquisition into the present condition and safety of the public conveyance system.
When questioned by Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, San Jose stated that at this time, the government could do nothing much to alleviate the dilemma of MRT-3 passengers.
He noted that only when more trains are added to the current fleet will there be an improvement to the time spent waiting in line to board the train; a duration which covers the entire process; from ticket purchase, to waiting before entering the station, to more waiting at the actual platform.
San Jose added that although the government is in the process of acquiring 48 new trains for the MRT-3, the soonest delivery of these would not be until the end of 2015.
To this end, as well, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Abaya said that it has been negotiated with the supplier of the trains to deliver up to four trains a month, instead of the contracted three trains a month.
At this rate, Abaya noted that full delivery can be expected by September 2016.
The DOTC says it has several rehabilitation projects for the MRT-3 lined up, as well, such as:
• overhaul of existing trains
• upgrade of ancillary systems, signaling systems, communications systems, and conveyance facilities
• rail steel and traction motors replacement
• construction of the North Avenue footbridge
• weather protection cladding
• installation of a public Wi-Fi and passenger information systems
• new passenger hand straps
The DOTC has earmarked a budget of P6.8 billion for the rehabilitation, which is likewise expected to be carried out until the end of 2016.