MRT trains break down after 4-day maintenance check
Two of the Metro Rail Transit-3’s (MRT-3) trains experienced technical problems just a day after they resumed operations following an annual four-day maintenance check over the Holy Week.
On Monday night, a southbound train stopped at the Magallanes station at 8:48 p.m. after it caught smoke, forcing its passengers out. Based on their initial investigation, Deo Manalo, MRT-3 director for operations, said that the train’s axle encountered a problem.
Manalo said MRT engineers were still looking into what went wrong.
Because of this, the MRT-3 had to suspend its operation from Shaw Boulevard to Taft and vice versa. Normal operations resumed at 10 p.m., or 40 minutes before the last train for the day departed from Taft station.
On Tuesday morning, another train offloaded passengers at the northbound section of the Magallanes station at 6:38 a.m. because of malfunctioning doors.
Manalo told the Inquirer in a phone interview that they were reviewing all their documents related to the maintenance check done on the trains over the Holy Week break. He said they were specifically looking into why the axle in the first train that broke down was not checked.
The breakdowns come nearly two weeks after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) claimed that its “improved train operations and maintenance” had resulted in the increase of ridership in the metro’s busiest train system during the first eight months of the Duterte administration.
The DOTr said that an average of 463,202 passengers rode the MRT-3 daily from July last year to March, President Duterte’s first eight months in office. Compared to July 2015 to June 2016, the DOTr said an average of only 379,223 passengers took the MRT-3.
The DOTr attributed the rise in the number of passengers to its “improved train operations and maintenance,” particularly the increase by 35 percent of the number of trains servicing the public during rush hour.
From an average of 13.89 trains that were available from July 2015 to June 2016, the DOTr said it deployed an average of 18.61 trains from July last year to March.
The data presented by the agency overseeing the MRT-3 did not provide a year-on-year or monthly comparison of the train system’s operations. As early as 2008, despite the lack of trains and frequent breakdowns in the system, its ridership had at times reached more than 500,000 daily, well beyond its carrying capacity of 350,000 passengers.
In an effort to improve the MRT-3’s capacity, the Aquino administration bought 48 trains from Dalian, China, worth P3.8 billion. None of these new trains have been used, however.
Manalo earlier said they were still waiting for another contractor hired by the Aquino government to certify that the trains were safe for use with a new signaling system for MRT-3. CBB/rga
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