Can MRT stations withstand long queues?

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 07 2014 06:10 PM | Updated as of Apr 08 2014 02:11 AM

MANILA -- A Palace official has expressed concern over whether the platforms of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) stations can withstand the long queues.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said ensuring the structural integrity of the platforms is one of the priorities right now.

"The short-term intervention again is to make sure that the... 'Yung integrity ng platform kasi mahalaga. So baka sa sobrang dami ng tao, the platforms, it might... The structural integrity might suffer. So for that reason, we have those lines," he said.

Lacierda also pointed out another measure to address the long lines.

"The other thing that was mentioned this morning by [Transportation] Undersecretary [Rene] Limcaoco is that we're already in the process of coming up with a system where you don't have to pay your fares in the station itself, so you can pay off-site. So, kumbaga, Usec. Limcaoco mentioned the similar situation in Hong Kong where you can reload your card. So those are the interventions that are coming in right now," he said.

The Palace, meanwhile, appeared to blame its predecessor administration for the long MRT lines, as it gave assurances that an extortion controversy will not delay the purchase of additional MRT trains.

"Apparently this concern to increase capacity should have been done so many years ago. It was not done. So now we're seeing why it wasn't done in the previous administration. There was a capacity that has already been reached. They should have acquired the coaches early on and, in fact, that's the reason why we are now doing that and we're anticipating also an increase in ridership with the MRT," Lacierda said.

He assured the public that efforts to address the long lines in the MRT will not be delayed.

"If you listened to the Senate testimony of [Transportation] Undersecretary Juju Lotilla, Timmy Limcaoco, and [MRT general manager Al] Vitangcol, they are now in the process of adding trains -- three trains a month. So the long-term intervention is starting," he said.

Long lines at the MRT's North Avenue and Quezon Avenue stations are a common sight during rush hours.