The head of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3), which runs through Edsa, defended a recently implemented “crowd control” scheme limiting train riders to batches of 500 people at a time.
In an Inquirer Radio interview on Thursday, MRT general manager Al Vitangcol III said the measure was meant to ease congestion at the stations while promoting passenger safety.
Vitangcol, who acknowledged that the trains were operating at overcapacity, also explained that the measure would allow a more equitable distribution of riders on the 17-km elevated railway.
MRT stations are located at North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, Kamuning, Cubao and Santolan-Annapolis, all in Quezon City; Ortigas Avenue in Pasig City; Shaw Blvd. and Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong City; Guadalupe, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue (Buendia), Ayala Avenue and Magallanes Avenue in Makati City; and Taft Avenue in Pasay City.
Due to the sheer volume of passengers, southbound trains originating from North Avenue, for example, could already reach full capacity at the fourth station in Cubao, Vitangcol noted.
Vitangcol stood firm on the measure despite mounting complaints, some of them posted on social media.
“The new MRT crowd control scheme is marvelous! Now we have to wait 15 minutes longer than usual just to board the train. Bravo!” said a Twitter user, Alex L.
“Thinking about MRT’s new crowd control scheme inspires me (to go back to sleep). Zzzz!” added Michi Guiritan.
Before the new system was implemented, the trip from North Avenue to Magallenes was only 35 minutes but “now it’s one hour for the queue and then 35 minutes for the train ride. Good job, MRT!” said Jessica Tin Miraña.
In an earlier interview, Secretary Joseph Abaya of the Department of Transportation and Communications said the agency was in the process of acquiring more train cars.
The department is currently evaluating the proposal of China’s Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co.–CNR Group, which emerged as the only qualified bidder during an auction held in June.
DOTC said it was targeting an additional 48 trains to serve the estimated 600,000 people now taking the trains daily, a volume well above its designed capacity of 350,000. MRT currently has a fleet of 73 train cars.—With a report from Ramon Royandoyan