Expect slow MRT-3 trips and longer lines as train axle breaks
MANILA — Expect longer queues and waiting time at the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) as fewer trains will be operational over the next four days, especially during peak hours, to give way to a “thorough inspection” of the fleet after one of the trains encountered a technical problem Tuesday evening.
Deo Manalo, MRT-3 director for operations, said that as a precautionary measure and to ensure the safety of thousands of MRT passengers, they have rolled down from 20 to just 15 sets the number of trains serving the public, starting 2 p.m. Wednesday. The trains will also be running at a much slower speed of 20 kilometers per hour from 40 kph, according to the MRT-3 official.
Manalo said that they saw the need to have a systematic check of the entire MRT-3 fleet after one of the trains created a “strange sound” and “excessively” swayed sideways.
The incident forced the MRT-3 to unload passengers at the Santolan station at 7:25 p.m. Tuesday, and implement an hour-long provisional service from Shaw to Taft.
Based on their findings, Manalo said the axle of the bogey system found under the train driver’s coach broke. He noted though that as of Wednesday, it was still “premature to conclude” on whether the crucial train part holding the wheel broke up because of mechanical, maintenance or design issues.
Manalo said they saw it prudent to decrease the number of operational trains, for at most four days, to allow them to check if the axles in the other trains were intact and did not have any flaws that could endanger the lives of the riding public. He pointed out though that the breaking up of the axle was a “first” and “unique incident” for the country’s busiest train system, serving an average of 463,000 passengers daily.
Due to the operation disruption, Manalo sought the public’s understanding and patience, especially since it would now take 50 minutes to reach North Avenue from Taft, from the average 35 minutes. As the turnaround of trains would be affected, he noted that queues in the concourse would also be longer.
He advised the public to either take the MRT earlier or later than usual to avoid being inconvenienced. He added that those stuck in lines could still make efficient use of their time, since the MRT stations have been equipped with free Wi-Fi connection.
Asked why the new Dalian trains could not be used during the inspection of the old trains, Manalo said that these have not been given the safety certificate to operate.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board said on Wednesday, that the public could avail themselves of the P2P bus service during the system check of the MRT. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has announced it will provide free rides to the public, as needed.
Manalo said that if their maintenance provider, Busan Universal Rail Inc., could complete the check before Monday, they would immediately resume the train’s regular operations. SFM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.