DOTr sees better MRT rides after Holy Week as spare parts arrive

Commuters at the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) can expect smoother rides after the Holy Week, as more train cars might be fixed by then with the arrival of new spare parts this month, the railway management said on Wednesday.

“We will do maintenance works during the Holy Week while there are no revenue operations,” MRT-3 media relations officer Aly Narvaez said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said in a statement the number of trains in the MRT would increase to 10 by the end of this month, as the spare parts for the railway system are set to arrive during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Services on the MRT operations on Tuesday.

Batan said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) targets to increase the MRT-3 trains to 15 by April after its three-day shutdown during the Holy Week, when the railway management can fully work on the maintenance of the rail system.

The transportation official said MRT-3 should ideally have 20 running trains daily.

A Special Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) created by the DOTr has completed the procurement of spare parts last December with a delivery lead time of 30 to 60 months. The initial batch of parts has started arriving this month.

The DOTr has also signed an agreement with Canadian firm Bombardier Transportation for the procurement of spare parts for the signaling system of the MRT-3.

The repair of the MRT system is expected to cost around PHP400 million and last for six months.

Meanwhile, the DOTr has started its test run of the 48 Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) that were ordered from CCRC Dalian by the previous administration as part of the auditing process conducted by international auditing firm TUV Rheinland.

On Monday, the company had one train set to run for three full loops on the line.

The deployment of the Dalian trains will depend on whether the audit shows that these can be suitable for use by the MRT.

“We’re still waiting for their report and if (it’s necessary) to conduct more runs,” Narvaez said.

The average ridership of the railway system was reduced to around 260,000 passengers for the first two weeks of February, as only eight to nine trains operate daily based on data from the MRT-3.

In 2017, the MRT-3 had an average daily ridership of 463,000 from 20 operating trains. But this was later reduced to 15 to ensure passenger safety.

From 15 working trains by the end of 2017, the MRT has lowered its target to just 10 to 12 trains to accommodate passengers. PNA