On the day the government officially launched an escorted bus service for commuters tired of the long lines at the Metro Rail Transit (MRT 3), the problematic train line on Edsa again broke down—not just once but five times.
Two trains bogged down around 9 a.m. on the southbound line, the first at GMA-Kamuning station and the second at Ortigas.
At 10:59 a.m., a third train had to unload southbound passengers at Buendia, while another stalled at GMA-Kamuning southbound at 12:40 p.m. About an hour later, a fifth train encountered problems going south at Magallanes.
According to the MRT website, the five trains had problems in the signaling system.
Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez said the breakdowns were expected since his agency, which recently terminated its maintenance contract with Busan Universal Rail Inc., had yet to purchase the needed spare parts.
Meanwhile, more than a thousand commuters availed themselves of the Kalayaan Ride bus service on the first morning of its implementation on Friday.
Bong Nebrija, operations supervisor of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, said the 18 escorted buses deployed at the MRT’s North Avenue Station were able to reach Ayala Avenue in an average of 50 minutes.
An MRT-3 trip between those stations would normally take around 40 minutes, he said.