MRT glitches increase since January 2015

Katerina Francisco

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MRT glitches increase since January 2015

Mark Z. Saludes

Data from the MRT show that the number of glitches that hit the mass transit system has worsened between January to May

MANILA, Philippines – The number of breakdowns, glitches, and service interruptions of the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3) has worsened since the start of the year, according to data presented to the House transportation committee on Wednesday, June 10.

The MRT3, which carries around 600,000 passengers daily, should have 20 trains running during peak hours, according to general manager Roman Buenafe.

But data covering the first 5 months of 2015 showed that the train line only had between 12 and 15 trains running during rush hour.

In May, the MRT was able to deploy around 12 trains during peak hours – lower compared to January 2015, when Buenafe first assumed office as general manager.

For unscheduled train removals, the number jumped to 290 in May, from 151 in January.


Car-train availability at peak 13.79 14.31 15.27 15.43 12.46
Unscheduled train removals 151 215 210 207 290
Passenger unloading 16 44 37 34 31
Service interruptions 5 5 4 2 5


The lack of spare parts for MRT coaches was one of the reasons why there aren’t enough operational trains, Buenafe explained.

“When I came in [as general manager in January], the problem that I immediately saw was the non-availability of spare parts for the trains,” he said.  

In recent months, the MRT often suffered breakdowns and technical glitches due to its aging rails and components. To get the trains back in operation, Buenafe said he ordered the appropriation of spare parts to repair the affected coaches.

“That’s why there was an increase in the number of trains from February to April,” he added.

But why the decrease in May? Buenafe said the MRT management was forced to send several trains to the depot for repair due to problems with the airconditioning units.

As a short-term fix for the MRT’s problems, Buenafe said several contractors will be tapped for the upkeep and maintenance of the train system.

Different contractors will be tapped to operate specific components of the MRT, such as rolling stocks and signalling, power supply, tracks and permanent ways, automated fare collection system (AFCS), communications, building facilities and equipment, and conveyance.

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