MRT-3 on track to being fixed, restored to high-grade design state: DOTr

With the comprehensive rehabilitation underway and ahead of schedule, the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 is on track to being fixed and restored to its original, high-grade design state by the third quarter of 2021.

The DOTr MRT-3 said that since the Duterte Administration took office in 2016, a series of critical and strategic steps were taken to put the major rail line back on track. These include the termination of non-performing service providers, establishment of a government maintenance transition team, and procurement of a Japanese Government-backed, JICA-funded, and experienced rehabilitation and maintenance service provider.

“Fixing MRT-3 requires a painstaking process that involves removing the cause — terminating BURI; procuring the solution — return of Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy; and implementing the solution — the 26-month rehabilitation period. We recognize that the process is taking time, but the DOTr , under the strong leadership of Secretary Tugade, has acted decisively and swiftly at every step, beginning with the termination of BURI, up to what no less than JICA and the Japanese government have recognized to be the fastest and most efficient JICA-funded project in the history of all JICA projects in the world,” Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said.

“We are not deaf to the inconvenience being endured by our commuters, and this is precisely why the DOTr has already put in motion a series of strategic steps that will deliver a very dramatic improvement in MRT-3 in the course of the next two years,” Batan added.

Restoring MRT-3

August 17, 2012 marked the current high point of MRT-3, when it carried a record 622,880 passengers on a single day.

Three to four years later, in 2015 and 2016, MRT-3 saw the biggest drop in average daily ridership, when weekday ridership fell from 525,000 to 375,000 per day.

At the same time, from 2012 to 2017, passenger unloading incidents shot up to an average of 377 incidents per year, with 2016 setting the record of 586 unloading incidents in a single year, or an average of almost 2 passenger unloading incidents per day throughout an entire year. With each train carrying up to 1,100 passengers, this translates up to almost 2,200 passengers being unloaded and inconvenienced on a daily basis.

This was the starting point of the current administration’s efforts to fix MRT-3.

Through the ongoing comprehensive rehabilitation project, DOTr MRT-3 will raise the number of operating trains from 15 to 20 at peak hours, double train operating speed from 30 to 60 kilometers per hour, and slash by half the headway or waiting time between trains from 7-10 minutes to just 3.5 minutes. The system’s capacity will likewise double from the current 350,000 to 650,000 passengers per day. DOTR