Philippines

DOTr eyes faster MRT3 by 4th quarter of 2020

If rail replacement activities are completed in September 2020, the Department of Transportation says the current 30 km/h speed of the MRT3 could be gradually increased to 60 km/h by December 2020

RAIL REPLACEMENT. Workers offload new rails for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 in Parañaque City on August 2, 2019. File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

RAIL REPLACEMENT. Workers offload new rails for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 in Parañaque City on August 2, 2019. File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) plans to gradually increase the speed of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) in the 4th quarter of 2020.

The DOTr said in a statement on Tuesday, May 19, that this would be possible if rail replacement activities are completed in September 2020, months ahead of the February 2021 target date.

To date, 36,540 linear meters out out of 65,892 linear meters of rail have been replaced, or 55.45%.

The DOTr said the rail replacement is intended to "reduce vibration-caused breakdowns," improve the train system's reliability, and lessen passenger delays.

The current operating speed of the MRT3 is just 30 kilometers per hour (km/h).

The DOTr is eyeing to increase this to 40 km/h by October, 50 km/h by November, and 60 km/h by December.

"The increased speed will translate to a lower headway, or waiting time between trains, from the current 8.5 minutes down to 3.5 minutes," the transportation department said.

"Together, with the increase in operational trains from the current 15 up to 20, MRT3's capacity is expected to double from the current 300,000 to 600,000 passengers per day."

The DOTr also said that with mass transportation halted under the enhanced community quarantine due to the coronavirus outbreak, the rail replacement activities were fast-tracked.

"Rail replacement works were previously done from 11 pm to 4 am only, or during the non-operating hours of the MRT3 line. Since resumption of rail replacement works was approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force [for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases] last April 6, working hours were extended from 7 pm to 5 am," said the transportation department.

Aside from rail replacement, all 72 light rail vehicles of the MRT3 are also being overhauled. Rehabilitation and upgrades are also being done for various systems, including power, signaling, communications, and security surveillance.

The MRT3 had been plagued by technical glitches in past years. – Rappler.com

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