On the rehabilitation of MRT-3
I wish to comment on the editorial “Commuters deserve better” (11/13/2022), as it is very relatable to a commuter like me.
The editorial claims that the MRT-3 has “old, poorly maintained railcars.” While the railcars are relatively old, I’ve noted that the reinstated maintenance provider, Sumitomo-MHI-TESP, has been doing a wonderful job of maintaining them, as compared to the previous controversial maintenance provider. There are now more trains, as Sumitomo has said that it managed to overhaul 67 railcars, reducing the commuter wait time from 10 minutes to less than half that. I experienced this myself. In 2019, it would take so many minutes for a train to get to the station, unlike this year, where it took only three to four minutes. Even the interior of the MRT-3 railcar looks new, as it has been repainted white.
I acknowledge that commuting is still difficult, given the long queues at every station. I believe this is because the MRT-3 shouldn’t have been built as a light rail transit in the first place. It should have been a heavy rail transit like the LRT-2, which has a higher passenger capacity. Even with optimal maintenance, being subjected to constant overloading will surely wear out the newly overhauled trains. This is probably why glitches have again occurred, albeit at a lower rate compared to 2018.
The increasing workforce population and the resumption of face-to-face work and classes are surely a challenge to the “success” of MRT-3’s rehabilitation. While I am pessimistic about the current political atmosphere, I am hopeful that sensible minds at the Department of Transportation can respond accordingly and proactively.
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