MANILA: As part of its resumption of public transportation in the country, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Saturday said it has increased the number of trains available to commuters in the National Capital Region (NCR), aside from buses that will increase the number of passengers the routes can carry.
In an online press conference, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), beginning Monday (June 1), will have a total of 19 trains running from the previous average of 15.
“Dito ho sa MRT, ang gagamitin ho na tren ay 19. Pumayag na po ang Sumitomo na isama ang tatlong Dalian trains (Here at MRT-3, we will start using 19 trains. Sumitomo agreed to incorporate the three Dalian trains in the MRT-3 fleet),” Tugade said.
For the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1), he said a total of 28 trains will run in the rail service, while the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) will only have five trains running once it resumes operation.
Due to the previous damage caused by a fire to the LRT-2, three of its stations remain out of commission—the Santolan, Katipunan, and Anonas stations.
However, Tugade said a bus augmentation service will operate in these three stations to continue providing service to commuters.
For the Philippine National Railways (PNR), he said eight of its brand-new trains will operate daily.
While the schedule of the MRT-3 will remain unchanged once it resumes operation on Monday, PNR general manager Junn Magno said the PNR will extend its operating schedule to increase the daily passenger capacity of the rail service.
“Nag-adjust kami ng schedule ng 3 a.m. para sa makapasok ng maaga, lalo na yung mga nasa Calamba. Tapos ang last trip naming ay magtatapos ng 8:20 ng gabi (We adjusted our schedule to begin at 3 a.m. for those who want to travel early, especially those from Calamba. Our last trip will be 8:20 at night),” Magno said.
In his presentation to President Rodrigo Duterte and the Cabinet on Thursday, Tugade said the LRT-1, LRT-2, and the MRT-3 will be limited to only 10 to 12 percent of its maximum passenger capacity, while the PNR will be limited to 20 to 30 percent as part of physical distancing and other health policies that mitigate the possible transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Due to the large decrease in passenger capacity of the rail services, the DOTr will have public utility buses running in the same routes as the trains.
Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chair Martin Delgra III said a total of 90 buses will be used in the bus augmentation for the rail sector.
Meanwhile, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) spokesperson Celine Pialago said the bus augmentation system for the MRT-3 will be limited once it begins on Monday as it would only pick-up and drop-off passengers at four stations—North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, Ayala Avenue, and Taft Avenue.
The limited number of stops, she said, was due to ongoing construction and adjustments of bus stops on Edsa to allow for the planned transfer of all public utility buses to occupy the left-most lane of the main road and adjustments for the creation of a bike lane.
“Yung mga ginagawa pong bus stops sa ngayon ay nangangailangan pa ng adjustments. So simula po June 1 ganito po muna tayo (Bus stops under construction will need adjustments. So beginning June 1, this is how things are going to work),” Pialago said.
( PNA/Raymond Carl Dela Cruz/SRNY/RSP)