MANILA, Philippines – Operating hours of the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) will be extended starting next week to give commuters an alternative in beating heavy traffic expected to arise from road constructions in parts of Metro Manila.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said the extended hours, which will be implemented starting Monday, February 24, will be tested a month to see if it will be viable in the long term.
“This is part of our program to mitigate the traffic situation. Based on the test run, we will monitor how much passengers are willing to alter their riding habits by commuting earlier in the morning or later in the evening,” DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said in a statement Thursday.
He added that the longer service is a good test if it will encourage motorists to take the train instead of their cars.
From its regular operating hours of 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m, MRT will start its operations at 4:30 a.m. from the North Avenue station and 5 a.m. from the Taft Avenue station from February 24 until March 7.
Then from March 10 to 21, MRT services will also be extended in the evening to 10:30 p.m. from the North Avenue station and 11 p.m. from the Taft Avenue station, in addition to the earlier opening hours.
After the 4-week test run, the MRT-3 Office will then make its recommendation to the DOTC on whether the extended operating hours may be regularized.
“Our limitations are on maintenance and costs. For maintenance, the coaches have to be checked every night to ensure safety. It seems that we will be able to shorten the turnover process without compromising actual maintenance hours. As for costs, the testing period will allow us to project how much more we need to spend to make it sustainable over time,” Sagcal said.
“As always, we are looking for ways to serve the public better. We want to deliver convenient, efficient, and safe transportation options, especially with government’s push to improve infrastructure over the next few years,” he added.
The DOTC earlier announced that the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will also launch a special coach service to ply the Tutuban to Sta. Rosa route as another mitigating step to help ease traffic in the metro.