MRT wants to restore train capacity to 10 by end-February

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 20 2018 04:30 PM | Updated as of Feb 21 2018 07:46 AM

A typical commute on the MRT-3. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The government hopes to restore the MRT-3 to half its capacity, or 10 trains, by February barring breakdowns, a transportation official said Tuesday.

The capital's main railway, which ferries 500,000 people on average daily, has operated below 10 trains in recent weeks, causing long passenger queues.

Capacity could be increased to around 15 trains by April after its annual maintenance shutdown for the Holy Week in late March, said transportation undersecretary for railways Timothy John Batan.

Batan told a Senate investigation on recent MRT breakdowns that the government had enough spare parts to restore 10 trains by the end of the month.

"So long na walang mag-down na additional train for the rest of February, we would have the spare parts that would allow us to bring back the number of running trains to 10 by the end of February," he said.

(As long as there will be no more problems for the rest of February, we would have the spare parts that would allow us to bring back the number of running trains to 10 by the end of February.)

As few as 6 trains were operational on Tuesday and passengers at one point were told to disembark at an elevated portion of the railway between the Ortigas and Shaw stations due to a tachnical glitch.

The Department of Transportation is in talks with Japan's Sumitomo to return as maintenance provider of the MRT.

The previous administration, under former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, terminated Sumitomo's contract. It also bought P3.8 billion in new coaches from China that were allegedly incompatible with the tracks.