Human error? MRT firm asks why train stalled first


Posted at Aug 19 2014 08:20 PM | Updated as of Aug 20 2014 05:23 PM

MANILA – MRT Holdings (MRTH) urged transportation authorities to investigate as well the maintenance provider of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) following the conclusion of the investigation on last week's accident.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said Tuesday that the overshooting incident was caused by “human error,” but MRTH argued that the incident wouldn’t have happened if the train didn’t stall in the first place.

MRTH spokesman Atty. David Narvasa said that while human error is possible, there were other succeeding incidents of train malfunction that cannot be attributed to the train driver.

“There might have been human error on the part of the driver on August 13. But last Friday, another MRT train stalled in Santolan; on Sunday, another problem happened near Buendia. It cannot be that almost everyday there is a case of human error," Narvasa said in a statement.

"The question that should have been answered was: why did the train stall? Why was there a lapse in the maintenance in the system that opened it up to human error? This should never happen," he added.

The accident, which resulted to the injuries of more than 30 people, happened after an MRT train lost power after it had just left EDSA-Magallanes station.

Another train then linked up with the defective train and pushed it to the Pasay-Taft station.

The defective train, however, was detached from the second train and crashed through the barrier because its brakes were not operating since the train had no power.

MRT Holdings is the owner of the MRT while the DOTC is the operator. Autre Porte Technique Global Inc. (APT Global) is the system’s maintenance provider.

Narvasa claimed that while the MRT was under maintenance by its previous maintenance provider Sumitomo Corp., no incidents of overshooting occurred.

"In the span of 12 years under Sumitomo's maintenance, there was never any incident like this," he said.

The DOTC released results of its investigation on Tuesday, with Transportation Sec. Jun Abaya himself explaining that it was human error in the train coupling that caused the incident.

Abaya said both drivers of the distressed train and the assisting train, and two others from the control center are facing administrative charges for "poor coordination and reporting procedures."

Abaya also denied that auditors weren’t allowed to inspect the MRT, saying personnel from MTR Hong Kong will be in the country by Monday to join the inspection of the system.

"'Yung kwentong ayaw namin and we prevent [audit], that is not true. In fact, we engaged MTR Hong Kong, and according to the chairman of MRTC, MTR Hong Kong will be here Monday…It will be a tripartite inspection,” he said.