MANILA — A "transport crisis" is plaguing tens of thousands of passengers in Metro Manila, an activist said Monday as he urged the Senate to investigate the glitches that stalled all 3 of the region's railways last week.
Three stations of the LRT-2 may remain closed for 9 months after a fire hit its power transformer Thursday, the same day that LRT-1 halted trips in 2 stations due to "mechanical issues."
An MRT train, meanwhile, bogged down on Wednesday, forcing scores of passengers to walk on rail tracks.
"We have a mass transport crisis," said Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr.
"There are not enough trains to ferry commuters to work and school. Of the limited trains that we do have, ALL THREE suffered glitches last week... I cannot remember a time when all three had glitches in the same week," he said in a Facebook post.
Reyes questioned whether or not lawmakers should look into the issue.
"Is this situation not yet a cause for a legislative investigation? Shouldn't this be examined during the budget hearings as there are government agencies involved? When will the Senate look into these issues?" he said.
"Tanong ng commuters, may plano ba talaga para sa pagpapaunlad ng mass transport system sa bansa, sa balangkas ng serbisyo hindi negosyo? O depende pa rin ito sa pabago-bago ng administrasyon at kagustuhang mag-negosyo ng ilan?" he added.
(The commuters ask, is there really a plan to improve the country's mass transport system, in the frame of service, not business? Or does this still depend on the flip-flopping of the administration and the business interests of a few?)
Regulators have approved special permits for 89 buses to ferry commuters hit by the LRT-2 shutdown, while the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority deployed 4 buses to give free rides.
Commuters typically take trains to avoid heavy traffic on EDSA and other major thoroughfares.
To ease traffic woes, the MMDA in recent months proposed a coding scheme based on car brands and a ban on provincial buses on EDSA — with both plans scrapped after public criticism.
The government is seeking emergency traffic powers for President Rodrigo Duterte, started the rehabilitation of the MRT-3 and broke ground for the Metro Manila subway.