MANILA, Philippines - The national government is mulling whether to purchase brand new or second hand trains to increase the number of trains for and improve service at the MRT Line 3 (MRT-3) system in Metro Manila.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, January 15, DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya said that the choice involves second hand trains from Spain or new ones from the Czech Republic, where the current trains of the MRT were made.
Two considerations are key: timing of delivery and compatibility to the existing trains in the current system.
2nd hand from Spain
Abaya said the DOTC is already studying the specifications sent by the Spanish government, focusing on whether the Spanish trains are compatible with the MRT Line system.
"We got a reply from the Spanish embassy. As I've said, the issue here is whether the trains would fit or run in our system," the transportation chief said.
"There were specs sent and MRT is going to be evaluating it. We'll get something out by next week," Abaya said.
Having second hand trains would mean both the main transportation systems on EDSA, a main thoroughfare in the metropolis, would not be brand new. Buses that ply Edsa are also second hand. MRT-3, which also traverses EDSA, is a faster and cheaper transportation alternative.
Brand new from Czech
On the choice of buying brand new trains from Czech Republic, Abaya said timing is the main consideration.
Abaya said that, while this is a good option, Filipinos have to wait for one to 2 years before the new trains are manufactured and delivered to the Philippines.
Edsa road rehab, traffic
The need for additional trains has been one of the major issues facing the MRT-3.
New trains could help ease the traffic along EDSA, which is expected to get worse once the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) starts to rehabilitate Metro Manila's main thoroughfare.
Abaya said that if the DPWH implements the project this 2013, the new trains that the DOTC will be ordering will not make it. As it is, Abaya said, the MRT is already 'bursting at the seams' and could not take on more passengers.
"We have to await that rehab plan. Definitely as it is, we can't [accommodate more passengers] because we're already bursting at the seams. Baka tapos na yung rehab, we have yet to get our first train. It [also] depends on a lot of factors and depends on how many people will divert to the trains, how many will undergo a different route," Abaya explained.
The EDSA rehabilitation plan was initially part of the $71 million Metro Manila Air Quality Improvement Project to be funded through an Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2004.
The project encountered problems when the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and DPWH could not agree on the means of the rehabilitation. The MMDA proposed concrete reblocking while the DPWH proposed the more costly asphalt overlay for easier traffic management. - Rappler.com