For first time in 20 years, MRT deploys record-high 21 trains

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 17 2020 12:28 PM

Commuters line up to ride the MRT-3 in Quezon City on Sept. 14, 2020 as it starts to accommodate more passengers, up to 204 from 153 per train, due to the newly implemented 0.75 physical distancing measurement between passengers. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- For the first time in its 20-year operation, the MRT-3 this week deployed a record-high 21 train sets, the Department of Transportation said Thursday, as the Philippines sought to serve more passengers and open up the coronavirus-hit economy. 

The MRT-3 recorded its "highest number of running trains" with 21 sets on Wednesday, "for the first time in the rail line’s history", the agency said in a statement. 

"This allows the MRT-3 to shorten the waiting time interval between trains, and enables the rail line to increase its passenger capacity," the DOTr said. 

MRT-3, which runs the length of EDSA from Quezon City to Pasay City, deployed 20 trains last Monday. 

It did not record any unloading incident in the past 3 months or since the resumption on public transportation, following the easing of the capital region's coronavirus lockdown, added the agency. 

The MRT-3's rehabilitation by the Japanese firm Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy is expected to be completed in July 2021, said the DOTr. 

Last Monday, the DOTr eased physical distancing requirements in public vehicles to 0.75 meter from 1 meter. The move is for "the ‘new normal’ where more workers are expected to return to their re-opened work places and more businesses are expected to resume operations," Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade earlier said. 

MRT-3 passengers are required to wear anti-virus masks and face shields and are banned from eating, talking and answering calls on any digital device onboard trains, said the DOTr.