Gov't rolls out MRT3 upgrade projects
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has commenced acquiring new facilities to upgrade the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT3), beginning with the procurement of signaling systems this month.
“Most of these projects will be completed in 2015 to 2016 under current timelines,” said Transportation Secretary Jose Emilio Abaya
Abaya said the upgrading of signaling systems would “improve reliability and enhance passenger safety.”
Beginning this September, DOTC will procure a new signaling system equipment for the railway system, with the first phase set to be completed in April 2015, followed by the remaining phase in September 2015.
Abaya disclosed in their project presentation September 8 that the upgrade of the signaling and software systems is worth P185 million. It is one of the 8 projects being executed by DOTC from September 2014 to December 2017.
By November, Abaya said DOTC would begin acquiring new rail tracks for P119.5 million. Portions of the MRT3’s old rails will be replaced to maximize train speed. The replacement will be completed in April 2015.
Train engine motors will also be replaced in November “to maximize the use of train cars and improve service reliability.”
In preparation for the delivery of new train cars, DOTC will begin constructing additional depot parking facilities and power substations by December, ending in September 2015.
“This will allow the 48 new train cars to be integrated into the system,” said Abaya.
The arrival 48 new train cars will help cut long lines at MRT3 stations and increase passenger capacity by 66%, according to Abaya. Also, the agency eyes to change the configuration of the car sets from 3 coaches to 4 coaches, reducing arrival intervals from 3 minutes to 2.5 minutes.
Testing of the first batch of imported train cars will take place in August 2014. Three to 4 units will be delivered per month until December 2016.
Procurement for the parking facilities and power substations in December will also coincide with the upgrade on the entire station’s radio communications system, overhaul of 72 existing train cars, and replacement of conveyance facilities, said Abaya.
In January next year, DOTC will be constructing on additional foot bridge at the North Avenue station in Quezon City to accommodate the long queues especially during rush hours.
Commuters will also have the option not to insert their train cards in the ticketing booths as the DOTC hopes its tap-and-go ticketing scheme will partially be implemented in July 2015.
The DOTC has prioritized these projects following the result of its investigation into the MRT3 mishap that injured at least 36 people and damaged the terminal Taft station in Pasay City on August 19.
The probe findings blamed the accident on the series of lapses made by its personnel, and recommended "strict observance and implementation of all safety and operational procedures and policies."
To ensure proper implementation of the maintenance projects, Abaya said a transition team has been formed earlier in this month to monitor the railway’s maintenance works.
Comprised of engineers and staff of the MRT3 and Light Rail Transit Authority, the team aims to ensure safety requirements are met and protocols are followed daily “in the interest of the public.” - Rappler.com