By: Darwin G. Amojelar | | July 25, 2012

MANILA - Daily ridership at the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 hit nearly half-a-million at end-April, according to the Metro Rail Transit Authority.

Data from MRTA showed that 54.81 million commuters took the MRT 3 in the first four months of this year, or 8.79 percent more than the 50.38 million in 2011.

This translated to an average daily ridership of 456,755 this year, higher than the service's capacity of 350,000 a day. The MRT 3 capacity had been breached as early as 2006.

Total ridership reached 158.81 million last year, up 3.6 percent from 153.16 million passengers in 2010.

MRTA earned P672.44 million in the first four months of this year, up from P621.23 million in the same period last year.

Metro Pacific Investment Corp. and San Miguel Corp. separately submitted proposals to expand the capacity of MRT 3, but the Department of Transportation and Communications has yet to act on the matter because of the dispute as to who owns or controls Metro Rail Transit Corp., the owner of the MRT 3 asset.

MPIC had offered the government $300 million to expand the MRT 3 and $350 million for the purchase of the equity and some of the bonds of MRTC.

The MPIC offer involved buying out state-owned lenders Land of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines, both of which controlled a combined 22 percent of equity and 75 percent of economic rights in MRT 3.

The MPIC had signed a cooperation agreement with various groups holding rights and interests in MRT 3, including MRTC, Metro Rail Transit Holdings Inc., Metro Rail Transit 2 Inc., and Monumento Rail Transit Corp. This gave MPIC 48 percent of MRTC’s equity.