DOTr announces 4-point strategy to improve MRT service

By , on November 29, 2017

FILE: MRT 3 (Photo: MRT-3 Philippines/Facebook)
FILE: MRT 3 (Photo: MRT-3 Philippines/Facebook)

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday has announced a four-point strategy of “taking bold and strategic steps” to improve the services and to solve the problems troubling the Metro Rail Transit 3.

“A Four-Point Strategy is already being implemented, which involves: promoting accountability (termination of BURI); ensuring continued service delivery (establishment of the Maintenance Transition Team); contracting a qualified maintenance and rehabilitation service provider (Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy); putting in place a long-term, single-point-of-responsibility, operator and maintenance provider for MRT-3 (O&M Unsolicited Proposal),” DOTr said in a statement.

Promoting Accountability

Among these steps was to ‘promote accountability’ by the termination of the contract with BURI on November 6 due to its failure  to meet the performance indicators in the contract, to procure spare parts, to overhaul MRT-3’s train cars, as only 2 out of 43 train cars have been overhauled by BURI.

“These failures led to the many passenger unloading and train removal incidents during the 22 months that BURI was maintaining MRT-3…BURI’s termination is intended to promote accountability, and to ensure that taxpayers’ money (P54 million a month for maintenance and P907 million for the overhaul) is not spent on a non-performing service provider,” it added.

Continued Service Delivery

After the termination of the BURI contract, the DOTr has created a Maintenance Transition Team (MTT) that would maintain the system for 3-6 months while procuring a new and qualified maintenance service provider.

The MTT has also hired 450 former BURI employees. Meanwhile, LRTA and PNR also shared “highly qualified and experienced” railway engineers to the MTT.

“The condition of MRT-3’s spare parts inventory at take over further demonstrated BURI’s failure to purchase and maintain a sufficient level of spare parts. To address this, the DOTr created a special Bids and Award Committee (BAC), which, together with the MTT, is regularly convening to expeditiously procure the spare parts that BURI failed to purchase,” DOTr said.

Maintenance and Rehabilitation Service Provider

The department is also discussing with Japan for the possible return of Sumitomo Corporation and its technical partner Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as maintenance service provider of the MRT-3.

“A G2G (Government to government) agreement is scheduled to be signed before year-end…Sumitomo and Mitsubishi Heavy designed, built, and maintained the MRT-3 in its first 12 years of operations,” DOTr said.

“The maintenance and rehabilitation contract is intended to have a term of 3 years, and will include the rehabilitation and restoration of the system to its original performance standards,” it added.

Long-Term, Single-Point-of-Responsibility, O&M Provider

The DOTr also said that the problems of MRT resulted from short-term and fragmented maintenance contracts and from “finger-pointing” due to having different entities maintaining and operating MRT-3.

To address this, the department pursued an Unsolicited Proposal for the 30-year operation and maintenance (O&M) of MRT-3

The DOTr also said they are already coordinating with the LTFRB and MMDA to expand the P2p bus fleet that will complement the MRT-3.

“Also, an independent safety audit by an ISO-certified and IFIA member certifier (International Federation of Inspection Agencies) will commence soon for the entire MRT-3 system, which is intended to give DOTr additional inputs on the interventions needed to rehabilitate and restore the system’s reliability,” DOTr said.

“With the bump in ridership expected as we approach the holidays, the public can be assured that the DOTr is pursuing all avenues to restore the MRT-3’s reliability and to continue ensuring the safety of its 500,000 daily riders,” it said.