Air-con glitch disrupts MRT run anew
MANILA, Philippines–The busy Metro Rail Transit (MRT) on Edsa was hit by another glitch on Tuesday, leaving thousands of midday and early-afternoon passengers stranded after the operation of some trains was suspended reportedly due to the faulty air-conditioning system.
Six MRT trains ran out of refrigerants, according to TV and radio reports.
MRT3 officials led by general manager Roman Buenafe did not respond to queries seeking confirmation and updates. Transportation department spokesman Michael Sagcal posted on his official Twitter account later in the afternoon that the problem—which he did not specify—was gradually solved and that there were 14 train sets back in operation from only five earlier in the day.
According to a report on Radyo Inquirer, passengers had just boarded a train at North Avenue station around 11:50 a.m. when they were told to get off.
One irked rider, April Roselle Lilagan, was on her way to work when the announcement was made. She said the MRT personnel on site spoke of a technical problem but did not give details.
Stranded commuters endured waiting along Edsa sidewalks for alternative rides.
The elevated railway on Edsa, which has been plagued by a host of problems for the past few years, including faulty brakes and signaling systems and damaged rails, was stalled also by glitches related to air conditioning in mid-February.
Tuesday’s disruption raised fresh questions over the way MRT3, which handles over half a million people per day, well above its designed capacity, is being maintained.
Much of the blame has been directed at the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) as well as its private-sector maintenance provider, Autre Port Technique Global Inc. (APT Global).
The DOTC has held bidding exercises to replace APT Global but they drew no interested parties and were thus declared failed bids.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said the agency would pursue an emergency procurement process that would allow it to enter into direct negotiations with maintenance groups.
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