MRT-3 set to in­crease pas­sen­ger ca­pac­ity

The Philippine Star - - FRONT PAGE - By RICH­MOND MERCURIO

More pas­sen­gers will be ac­com­mo­dated by the Metro Rail Tran­sit-3 start­ing to­mor­row.

The Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion ( DOTr) said the rail line will in­crease its max­i­mum pas­sen­ger ca­pac­ity from the cur­rent 13 per­cent to 30 per­cent be­gin­ning Mon­day.

This means that each train car will be able to ac­com­mo­date 124 pas­sen­gers, or 372 pas­sen­gers per train set, from the cur­rent 51 pas­sen­gers per train car or 153 pas­sen­gers per train set to de­con­gest the trains and pre­vent the spread of COVID-19.

MRT-3 direc­tor for op­er­a­tions Michael Ca­p­ati said the move to beef up train ca­pac­ity would help trans­port more peo­ple.

“In ad­di­tion to in­creas­ing our train ca­pac­ity, our pas­sen­gers can also ex­pect more trains to be de­ployed along the main line, shorter wait­ing time and faster travel time.

This is part of DOTr and MRT-3’s com­mit­ment to pro­vide more ef­fi­cient and im­proved ser­vice to our pas­sen­gers,” Ca­p­ati said.

Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Arthur Tu­gade has in­structed the DOTr rail­ways sec­tor to in­crease the max­i­mum pas­sen­ger ca­pac­ity of trains to ac­com­mo­date more com­muters fol­low­ing the de­ci­sion of Pres­i­dent Duterte and his Cabi­net to ap­prove the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil.

“The in­crease in train ca­pac­ity is a timely boost for the MRT3, as the pub­lic de­mands higher num­ber of pub­lic trans­porta­tion in the midst of the COVID-19 pan­demic,” Ca­p­ati said.

The DOTr said the MRT-3 is also con­tin­u­ously work­ing on the de­ploy­ment of more train sets to en­sure faster com­mute and re­duced train head­way. Last Sept. 21, the rail line was able to de­ploy 22 train sets, the high­est num­ber of run­ning trains recorded in its his­tory. The MRT-3 also in­creased its train speed from 30 kph to 40 kph last Oct. 1 af­ter the installati­on of new long-welded rails was com­pleted in all MRT-3 sta­tions. The installati­on was part of the mas­sive re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram of the rail line be­ing im­ple­mented by Su­mit­o­moMit­subishi Heavy from Ja­pan. MRT-3 op­er­at­ing speed is ex­pected to grad­u­ally in­crease to 50 kph by Novem­ber and 60 kph by De­cem­ber, ac­cord­ing to the DOTr. In line with the in­crease in trans­port ca­pac­ity, the DOTr said strict health and safety pro­to­cols rec­om­mended by health ex­perts will be en­forced in­side the trains.

Mean­whle, the Land Trans­porta­tion Franchisin­g and Reg­u­la­tory Board (LTFRB) has opened two more provin­cial routes en­ter­ing Metro Manila from Pam­panga and Davao City.

Un­der me­moran­dum cir­cu­lar 2020-051, a to­tal of 19 units were given the green light to re­sume daily op­er­a­tions start­ing Oct. 16.

The routes cover the op­er­a­tions of Dau, Ma­bal­a­cat, Pam­panga to Araneta Cen­ter in Cubao, Que­zon City and Davao City, Davao del Sur to the Sta. Rosa In­te­grated Ter­mi­nal in La­guna.

The LTFRB said the open­ing of routes went through rounds of dis­cus­sion with the agency and lo­cal gov­ern­ments to en­sure pub­lic safety amid the pan­demic.

Since the trans­porta­tion shut­down in March, the two new routes bring the to­tal num­ber of re­opened provin­cial bus routes to 14.

The LTFRB re­opened 12 routes with 286 bus units go­ing to var­i­ous points in the prov­inces of La­guna, Batan­gas, Cavite and Pam­panga late last month.

The ap­proval of lo­cal gov­ern­ment units is needed be­fore routes could be re­opened as they are the ones who will han­dle in­com­ing pas­sen­gers and how to avoid pos­si­ble com­mu­nity trans­mis­sion, ac­cord­ing to the LTFRB. – With Rom­ina Cabr­era, Ralph Edwin Vil­lanueva

BOY SAN­TOS

An NLEX Corp. em­ployee in­stalls an RFID sticker on a ve­hi­cle as the dead­line for cash­less toll trans­ac­tions nears.

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