MRT3 officials probe why train operated with doors open

Bea Cupin
MRT3 officials probe why train operated with doors open
An MRT3 coach fails to shut its doors as it traversed its route, risking the safety of passengers. There is a sensor that is supposed t prevent that from happening.

 MANILA, Philippines – It was another potentially dangerous mishap at the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3).

On Tuesday, September 2, the MRT3 operated while the car doors were still wide open, a video taken by a passenger showed. JaPat Ventura said in a public Facebook post that he boarded the line from the Buendia station in Makati at around 8:40 pm.

Screengrab from a Facebook video posted by JaPat Ventura

“I thought it will operate just fine and safe. But this terrible thing happened,” Ventura said in his post. The video has since gone viral, with more than 1,200 likes and at least 2,000 shares as of posting.

A similar incident happened earlier, with at least one passenger snapping a photo of MRT3 train doors still wide open while the train was supposedly moving.

In a phone interview with Rappler, MRT3 spokesman Hernando Cabrera said the train coach has since been identified and isolated. The same coach was involved in the two instances reported on social media.

Cabrera said the concerned coach had been garaged for investigation. 

The MRT3 will investigate both the train driver and the train coach to pinpoint what went wrong. 

Faulty door sensors may be the reason why the train operated even when the doors were wide open, said the spokesman. Cabrera said trains should be unable to move if a coach’s doors are not shut.

“It’s part of safety protocol that the train would be unable to move if the doors are open. If it’s already moving and one door opens, forcible for instance, the emergency brakes kick in,” said Cabrera.

Upgrading all of the train line’s systems – door sensors included – is part a series of projects being proposed by the Department of Transportation and Communications.

The upgrades are a long time coming, given the MRT3’s current sorry state. In a Senate hearing, MRT3 officials said a fourth to a third of escalators and elevators were not functioning, the train’s signalling system was obsolete, and none of its ticketing machines were working. (LIST: Proposed MRT3 rehab projects)

The result? Long lines at MRT3 stations and recurring glitches.

Just last month, one of the MRT3 trains derailed at the Taft station, bulldozing the station’s safety barriers and injuring at least 36. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.