By Miguel R. Camus | Philippine Daily Inquirer | December 29, 2015
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said it was on track to install 48 new train cars at the congested and glitch-prone Metro Rail Transit Line 3 in Metro Manila by 2017.
The DOTC said in a statement that tests were ongoing on train coaches ordered from Chinese manufacturer Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co.
With the completion of tests, the DOTC said commuters can expect one “new running train” by the end of the first quarter of 2016.
After this, the DOTC expects to get four coaches per month and the completion of the order for 48 new coaches would be done by January 2017, past the term of President Aquino.
“The DOTC project implementation team has been closely monitoring the production process to ensure the rapid progress and proper manufacture of the new trains,” said the DOTC.
The new trains would ease congestion at Metro Manila’s busiest train system, which runs along Edsa.
Over half a million people cram themselves daily in the MRT-3 that is designed to carry about 350,000 passengers per day. With the new coaches, the capacity expands to about 800,000, the DOTC said.
The DOTC said it also awarded the long-term maintenance for the MRT-3 to the joint venture of Busan Transportation Corporation, Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile Inc., TMICorp Inc. and Castan Corp.
The decision came despite early controversy and opposition from a rival group, German-Filipino venture Schunk Bahn und-Industrietechnik-Comm Builders & Technology Philippines, which was disqualified for the late submission of documents. The venture earlier filed an appeal to the DOTC, saying it was not properly informed of the deadline.
On Monday, the venture said it was seeking the intervention of President Aquino.
The DOTC, meanwhile, said that starting Jan. 5 next year, the winning Filipino-Korean group “will fulfill the general maintenance requirements for three years.”