Extended MRT hours drawing more commuters

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 01 2014 12:32 PM | Updated as of Mar 02 2014 08:13 AM

MANILA – The number of commuters taking the morning test-run of the extended operating hours of the Metro Rail Transit has increased, according to the MRT's general manager.

"Ang magandang balita dito, nung nagsimula tayo nung Lunes, yung additional na sumakay between 4:30 (a.m.) and 5:30 (a.m.) ay around 5,126. Nung sumunod na araw, naging 5,660, tapos nung sumunod na araw naging 8,000 plus," said Atty. Al Vitangcol, general manager of the Metro Rail Transit Corp.

From its regular operating hours of 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m, MRT began its operations at 4:30 a.m. from the North Avenue station and 5 a.m. from the Taft Avenue station from the test-run period of February 24 until March 7.

Vitangcol told DZMM that the extended morning operating hours somehow managed to reduce, if not end, the long queue in some stations.

"Talagang nakabawas ng pila yun dahil instead na pumila sila ng mga susunod na oras, inagahan nila," Vitangcol said.

He said they could no longer extend the operating hours earlier than 4:30 a.m. due to some limitations, like the maintenance of the trains.

"Pagkatapos ng operasyon ng gabi, dini-dismantle natin isa-isa yan tapos yung bawat isang car o isang coach ay ini-inspection nating maigi yan," he explained. "Pagtapos nyan, bubuuin natin ulit yan, pagkakabitin natin ng tatlong bagong para maging isang tren. So kailangan po natin ng at least 4 hours para gawin po yan."

He said the test-run is going smoothly except for Thursday's incident when their equipment doing maintenance check on the power lines got stuck along the MRT southbound track in North Avenue station. The incident delayed the first trip operation for a few minutes.

"Hindi po makakadaan yung tren. Hinintay po namin matanggal yung naka-stuck up na equipment, natanggal yun mga around 4:46 a.m. Syempre po magkakaroon pa ng initial preparation saka power up ng mga lines so unang tren natin nakalabas nung 5:15 a.m.," said Vitangcol.

As for additional trains, Vitangcol said a company in China has been given the notice to proceed manufacturing 48 new coaches in two years.

"Sa loob ng 2 taon baka po ma-deliver na yung additional 48 new coaches or car. Bawat isang tren, tatlong coaches. Kapag mayroon tayong additional, magiging apat na po ang bagong bawat isang tren," he said.

After the extended morning test-run, the MRT will also begin the extended evening operation hours until 11 p.m.

"Titingnan din po natin ang reaction ng tao, ang riding pattern po, at titingnan natin kung anong mangyayari," he said.

They will likewise make necessary improvements on the queuing system at MRT stations.