DOTr apologizes for MRT3 train smoke incident
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) apologized a day after a train of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 emitted smoke, affecting hundreds of passengers and temporarily limiting rail operations.
In a statement on Saturday night, January 27, the DOTr expressed its "sincere apologies" to commuters affected by the incident early Friday afternoon but still could not provide an explanation as to why it happened. The agency has jurisdiction over the MRT3 line.
"At about 1:40 pm, around 600 passengers unloaded a train between Cubao and Kamuning stations due to reported smell and appearance of smoke from under one of the seats," reported the DOTr.
Passengers of the train were safely assisted to the nearest station, it added. Meanwhile, provisional service was implemented from Shaw Boulevard to Taft Avenue stations.
"Regular service resumed at about 2:50 pm, ending the day with 321,397 riders," said the DOTr.
Transportation officials have yet to determine the cause of the incident.
"Fault analysis is ongoing, and in the interest of accuracy and transparency, DOTr has directed MRT-3 Management to release to the public their technical findings at the soonest possible time," the DOTr said.
This was not the first time an MRT3 train emitted smoke or caught fire. This is on top of around 25 glitches and service interruptions in the first month of 2018, and over 500 incidents in the entire 2017. (READ: MRT woes: How often do they happen?)
DOTr appealed for the public's understanding, saying it is trying its best "to effectively and sustainably restore and rehabilitate the current MRT-3 system." It said the current state of the train line "has deteriorated due to cumulative errors in policy and operational decisions made across several administrations."
"DOTr fully supports MRT-3 Management in its continuing efforts to ensure that MRT-3 is continued to be operated safely, thus providing continuing service to the hundreds of thousands of passengers that rely on it for their daily commute," the department said.
The DOTr also shared its strategies in addressing issues in the beleaguered EDSA line, such as the efforts of the MRT3 Maintenance Transition Team (MTT), the mobilization by May 2018 of a rehabilitation and maintenance service provider nominated by the government of Japan as the official development assistance (ODA) partner, and the procurement of a long term single point operations and maintenance provider.
It also reported that many of the spare parts meant to increase MRT-3's reliability had been ordered as of December 29, 2017. "With delivery lead times of 30 days to 6 months, delivery of critical components will begin in February, and restoration of service reliability is expected to begin toward the latter part of February and gradually thereafter," the DOTr said.
The DOTr also said it has created a special bids and award committee "to expeditiously procure spare parts that BURI failed to purchase."
Busan Universal Rail Incorporated (BURI) was the MRT3 maintenance provider until the DOTr terminated its contract with them in November 2017 for "poor performance." The MTT took over the responsibilities in a temporary capacity.
An independent audit and assessment (IAA) by the firm TUV Rheinland for the entire MRT-3 system is likewise underway, said the DOTr. – Rappler.com