‘LRT-1 endangered lives of passengers’—militant group
A militant group on Friday asked how a Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) was able to operate with its doors open.
“The LRT train that ran with doors open last March 10 obviously did not meet safety standards. A train with open doors should not have run at all,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes said in a statement.
He explained that the train’s safety and signaling system should prohibit a train from running if there are doors open.
Reyes was referring to a video posted by an LRT-1 passenger on Thursday evening. The video showed the student and his friends riding a coach with its doors open as the train was speeding.
The student said that the passengers had no choice but to hold on the handrails tightly because the train was already moving.
“There appears to have been minimal intervention and hardly any sense of urgency on the part of the operators, as demonstrated by the account of the passenger when he heard the security guard tell the passengers to just hold on tight,” Reyes said.
“The LRT 1 clearly endangered the lives of its passengers,” he added.
Reyes said the Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC), which has taken over the LRT-1 operations, should be investigated.
“We ask now: did the LRMC, the private operator of the train, intentionally bypass the train’s safety system, thus allowing it to run even with doors open?” he said.
“How many running trains have this safety feature switched off? Is LRMC doing this because it is after revenues? Or because there are not enough functional trains that its revenues will be affected? Is LRMC sacrificing safety standards for profits?” Reyes further asked.
In a Twitter post, the LRMC said that it is their safety policy not to allow trains with “a door fault” to leave the station.
“We apologize to the passengers who were on board the said train. Our operations, engineering and safety teams will work together to ensure that this issue is investigated, addressed and corrected thoroughly to ensure the safety of passengers,” it said.
Reyes said the LRMC “seems to treat this like another day at the office” when such an incident would have merited investigations and penalties in another country.
“Nothing extraordinary since for them, it seems that Filipino commuters are already used to risking their lives when riding our trains. What happened was an inexcusable violation of basic safety standards for trains. The LRMC should think of the safety of the riding public, and not just the company’s revenue stream,” he said.
Reyes pointed back at the Aquino administration and its push to privatize the LRT.
“Also, it has been a year too since Pres. Benigno Aquino III imposed a fare hike on passengers but there has been no major improvement in services. The fare hike was merely a sweetener for privatization,” he said. “On top of this, gov’t is expected to pay billions in penalty payments for the repairs of the train system that was turned over to private operators.” IDL
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