By the Philippine News Agency
MANILA — The management of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) will study proposals to extend its operating hours to serve more passengers, a Department of Transportation (DOTr) official said Wednesday.
“The DOTr MRT-3 welcomes the suggestion to extend for two more hours the operating system of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 from its original schedule of 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. We will study the proposal given the changes in the current MRT-3 ridership profile, as compared to when the extended hours was tested in the past,” DOTr communications director, Goddes Hope Libiran, said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Libiran was reacting to Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo’s proposal to extend the operating hours of the LRT and MRT until midnight to help commuters amid the present heavy traffic situation in Metro Manila.
She said the proposed extension of MRT’s operating hours would require additional hours for trained personnel, as well as additional electricity costs.
The MRT-3 conducts preventive maintenance of its trains during non-operating hours to prevent breakdowns.
“We wish to stress that regular and efficient preventive maintenance works help ensure smooth train operations, as well as prevention of unloading incidents and service interruptions,” Libiran said.
She also said rehabilitation works on MRT-3 under its new maintenance provider Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is set to begin by end of January.
The MRT rehabilitation will cover the repair and maintenance of its electrical components, power supply, rail tracks, and depot equipment, and the overhaul of its 72 light rail vehicles. It will last for 43 months.
Sumitomo took over the rehabilitation and maintenance of the railway system following the signing of the PHP18 billion loan agreement between the Philippines and Japan last November.
In making the proposal, Castelo, who chairs the House of Representatives’ Committee on Metro Manila Development, said extending the operations of the MRT and
LRT would help ease road congestion and help affected commuters get relief from heavy traffic.
He said a large number of commuters, especially those going home from work, has been crowding themselves in buses and jeepneys because of the “short operation hours” of the mass railway systems in Metro Manila.
Commuters are thus unable to catch rides and are usually stranded even up to 12 midnight due to heavy traffic.
The LRT Lines 1 and 2 operates from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. during weekdays and 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on weekends.
The MRT-3 runs from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. during weekdays and weekends.
Meanwhile, the MRT-3 on Wednesday began validation tests on the third set of trains purchased from the Chinese firm CRRC Dalian.
“The said train set will serve MRT-3 commuters from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. starting today (Wednesday) until Feb. 1, 2019,” the DOTr MRT-3 said in its statement.
The train sets undergo a 1,000-km. test run for 150 hours before these are deployed during peak hours of MRT-3 operations.
The Philippine National Railways will determine if the Dalian train can be used for the regular operations of MRT-3 after it has concluded its test run.
The MRT-3 has deployed its first train set, which consists of three cars, from October 27 to November 21 last year, while another was deployed from December 11 to 23, 2018.