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By King Al Mendoza on July 27, 2021 under News

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MRT-3 Press Release
27 July 2021

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte commended DOTr MRT-3 for its massive transformation from being "a horror for the daily commuters" to today's dependable public transport partner in his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday, 26 July 2021.

President Duterte recalled how the commuters used to suffer from frequent breakdowns and unloading incidents that hounded MRT-3 daily, but now were only a thing of the past.

"MRT-3, with its frequent breakdowns and unloading of passengers mid-rail-- that was a horror for the daily commuters to endure in the past. Now, MRT-3 no longer unloads passengers, but to their destinations," President Duterte said.

MRT-3 used to register an annual average of 377 unloading incidents since 2012, with 2016 setting the record of 586 unloading incidents in a single year, or an average of almost 2 passenger unloading incidents per day throughout an entire year.

This 2021, MRT-3 recorded no unloading incident for the year's first six months.

The president also took note of MRT-3's increased train operating speed and number of operational trains it now has the capacity to deploy on the mainline.

"The waiting time between trains had been significantly reduced to... 10 trains running at only 30 kilometers per hour before. Now, MRT-3 runs 23 trains at 60 kilometers per hour. We have taken away the misery of public commuting," President Duterte added.

Department of Transportation - Philippines Sec. Art Tugade welcomed PRRD's commendation of the MRT-3, saying the line's massive rehabilitation involved some painstaking decisions that had to be taken in order to transform the public service which had ailed commuters for a long time.

In the past, MRT-3 suffered from lack of spare parts and components, outdated signaling system, poorly maintained train cars, and worn-out rails, among others, which caused the lowering of its operating speed (from 60 kph to 30 kph) and increased headway or gaps between trains (from 3.5 minutes to 9 minutes).

In 2017, with Sec. Art Tugade acting decisively and swiftly, non-performing service providers of MRT-3 were terminated, and a Maintenance Transition Team (MTT) headed by Director for Operations Michael Capati, was established to temporarily take over the maintenance of the railway system. This, while the procurement of a new maintenance service provider was being processed to undertake the restoration of MRT-3 back to its high-grade state.

The DOTr strategically re-engaged the services of Sumitomo Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), who are not only experienced experts in the field of railway development and maintenance, but who are also the original designer, builder, and maintenance provider of MRT-3 during its first 12 years of operations.

On September last year, the MRT-3 was able to fully replace its mainline rail, several months ahead of its scheduled February 2021 completion. This allowed the line to gradually increase its train operating speed from 30kph to 40kph in October, 50kph in November 2020, and 60kph in December 2020.

"Dati, kilala bilang MRTirik o TrainToBusan ang MRT-3 dahil sa kabi-kabilang aberya. Ngayon, nasolusyunan na po ito. Taong 2018 ay nagsimula na pong bumaba ang bilang ng mga unloading incidents sa MRT-3. At ngayong first half ng 2021, wala ni isang insidente ng unloading ang naitala. Ang dating araw-araw na kalbaryo ng ating mga kababayan dahil sa aberya, ngayon ay napalitan na ng mas ligtas, mabilis, at malamig na ang biyahe. Lahat ng riles, napalitan na ng brand new. Hindi na baku-bako at sira-sira. Ang biyahe ngayon, smooth na, kumpara dati na para kang sumakay sa roller coaster dahil sa tagtag," said Sec. Art Tugade.

Passengers of today do not only experience faster MRT-3 rides, but also cooler and safer commuting experience. All of MRT-3's 72 train cars are equipped with new and regularly-maintained air conditioning units (ACUs). In its stations, all of MRT-3's 46 elevators and 34 escalators are fully functional.

MRT-3 has also already completed its CCTV and platform monitors rehabilitation, with 292 new and high-resolution CCTV units and 30 platform monitors installed in all its 13 stations.

MRT-3 is geared to complete its massive rehabilitation by December this year, in time for the anticipated return to normalcy.