MANILA—The Transportation Department on Saturday apologized to hundreds of passengers who were forced to get off an MRT train on Friday after smoke came out "from under one of the seats."
"The Department of Transportation (DOTr) expresses sincere apologies to those who were affected and inconvenienced by the recent smoke incident that occurred (Friday) in one of MRT-3's trains," the agency said in a statement.
It said 600 passengers disembarked the faulty train at about 1:40 p.m. after the "reported smell and appearance of smoke from under one of the seats."
"Fault analysis is ongoing and, in the interest of accuracy and transparency, DOTr has directed MRT-3 management to release to the public their technical findings at the soonest possible time," the department statement added.
"The DOTr appeals to the riding public's understanding while it pushes ahead, in the most expeditious manner, strategies and actions to effectively and sustainably restore and rehabilitate the current MRT-3 system that has deteriorated due to cumulative errors in policy and operational decisions made across several administrations."
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade earlier assured that spare parts for the MRT should start arriving in the coming days, after railway operations ran below capacity in recent days, causing longer passenger queues.
He added that the government was also discussing the possible return of Japan's Sumitomo as maintenance provider for the MRT.
A proposal from a consortium led by businessman Manny Pangilinan to take over the MRT is also being studied, he said.
Some 500,000 commuters use the MRT-3 every day to travel on EDSA, Metro Manila's busiest thoroughfare.