MRT not designed for future, official says

by Ria de Fiesta,

Posted at Mar 27 2014 01:26 AM | Updated as of Mar 27 2014 09:26 AM

MANILA – Metro Rail Transit (MRT) general manager Al Vitangcol III on Wednesday said extending the operating hours of the mass transit system has not helped in reducing long lines of passengers taking the train daily.

Lines of passengers have even grown longer since the MRT implemented extended operating hours, Vitangcol told radio dzMM.

Asked what is causing long queues, Vitangcol said it is the lack of anticipation of the number of passengers, as well as lack of enough coaches.

"I can directly say that the MRT, when it started in 1999, was not designed for the future. The management did not foresee the number of ridership," he said.

MRT serves 560,000 passengers a day, Vitangcol said.

To address the problem, he said the MRT management has ordered 48 trains, the first three of which are set to arrive early next year.

"Early next year, three coaches per month will arrive. Forty-eight units ang order natin. They will take a long time to arrive because the trains are made to order," Vitangcol said.

Vitangcol explained that before mass production of the ordered trains, they would have to test and evaluate the prototype.

Capacity breached

Vitangcol also said that based on records, the MRT’s capacity was breached as early as 2008.

“Dapat noong 2008 pa may mga bagong bagon na,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vitangcol said the accident that transpired Wednesday was due to human error, and not a technical problem.

A management committee, he said, is investigating the incident.

Asked how the train drivers are hired, he said they undergo almost four months of intensive training, both theoretical and practical, and are given an examination.

“Pag nakapasa, that’s the only time we hire them,” he said.