By Joel E. Zurbano | The Manila Standard Today | September 8, 2015
Commuters continued to suffer from glitches at the Metro Railway Transit on Monday after MRT’s operation was disrupted by a defective door during the morning rush hour.
Irate passengers were forced to take buses or taxis along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue amid crawling traffic after a southbound train made a sudden stop at the Santolan Station in Quezon City around 7 a.m.
Ramon Buenafe, MRT general manager, said the passengers were told to alight from the train and get out of harm’s way. He apologized to the public for the inconvenience caused by technical problems.
Buenafe assured the commuters that the railway system would soon improve with the arrival of the new train prototype acquired from China.
The Transportation department had decided to extend MRT operating hours to cut the long lines of passengers, but the public continued experiencing problems like the slow arrival of trains, apart from technical glitches.
The Senate recently called for an immediate probe of accidents involving malfunctioning MRT trains, one of which caused injuries to at least 40 people on Aug. 13 last year.
The MRT-3 serves more than half a million passengers, exceeding its capacity of 350,000 per day.
Among the malfunctions or incidents involving the MRT-3 included the short-circuit that caused fire in one MRT coach at Kamuning Station in November 2012; shutdown of MRT operations in October 2013; and abrupt stoppage of MRT at the Ayala station last March resulting in the injuries to at least 10 commuters.
MRT trains and railways are vulnerable to breakdown which cause s injuries, delays and long lines due to inadequate preventive maintenance, absence of regular inspection, lack of spare parts replacement and readiness in times of accidents and risks, according to some lawmakers.
The MRT-3 line serves 13 stations commences at North Avenue and ends at Taft Avenue, serving the cities that Edsa passes through: Quezon City, Mandaluyong, Makati, and Pasay.
It started its operation in 1999 as the country’s second rapid transit line in Metro Manila. It forms part of the rail transport infrastructure, including the Manila Light Rail Transit System composed two lines which are the LRT-1 and MRT-2, and the Metro Commuter Line of the Philippine National Railways.