DOTr eyes more operational MRT-3 trains, faster turnaround time as rehab completion inches closer

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 06 2021 09:23 PM

The MRT-3 test runs an overhauled train set that runs up to 50kph on October 29, 2020, as it prepares to deploy more trains in the coming days at faster travel times. The MRT-3 aims for its trains to travel at 50kph by November and by 60kph by December. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – More operational trains and a faster turnaround time can be expected from MRT-3, as the rail line's rehabilitation is expected to finish by December this year, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Saturday. 

In a statement, the agency said the MRT-3 rehabilitation project “significantly increased” the number of operational trains — from around 10 to 15 running trains in May 2019 to 23 running trains in January this year.

"Commuters of the MRT-3 can expect even more efficient service, as the rail line operates with more trains and faster turnaround time ahead of the expected completion of its full and massive rehabilitation," the statement read. 

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There is also an expected speed increase as the result of the installation of the new long-welded rails in all MRT-3 stations, as part of Japanese-led Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' rehabilitation program on the rail line.

“From the previous 30 kilometers per hour operating speed, trains on the line can reach a 60-kilometer per hour operational speed as of December 2020,” it read, citing MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael Capati’s report in late February. 

“The increase in train speed has trimmed the headway or waiting time between trains at stations from 4 minutes to 3.5 minutes. This is another improvement from the previous 8 minutes to 9.5 minutes waiting time for passengers,” the statement read. 

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MORE PASSENGERS, SHORTER TRAVEL TIME

Following the government’s directive, the MRT-3 in October increased its capacity to 30 percent with 124 passengers per train car or 372 passengers per train set. 

This, as the government aimed to have more trains ferry additional passengers due to limited public transport amid the pandemic. 

The development, meanwhile, led to more commuters riding the railway -- peaking at 172,665 on Feb. 26, said the agency. 

The DOTr also boasted of the shortened travel time from North Avenue Station to Taft Station, the railway’s end-to-end terminals, at around 45 minutes from at least 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Replacement of the public address system as well as the rails at the mainline were also completed in December last year, according to Capati. 

Aside from these, the DOTr said the signalling system installation is nearly or 78.3 percent completed, while 46 escalator units and 34 stations are already operational.