• Aquino placates DOTC chief over MRT-3 troubles

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    Praises Abaya for accomplishments

    President Benigno Aquino 3rd said that DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya should not be dismayed if the public has forgotten whatever good he has done for the country’s transportation sector because of the complicated issues surrounding Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3).

    “Kay Secretary Jun Abaya, huwag ka sana panghinaan ng loob kung tila nalilimot ng iba ang nagawa mo; ang pagtanggal ng ICAO sa significant safety concerns sa ating aviation sector, ang pag-alis ng European ban sa ating mga eroplano at ang pag-akyat natin sa Category 1 ng US FAA,” Aquino said.

    [Secretary Jun Abaya, I hope you do not get discouraged if others seem to forget what you have accomplished; ICAO’s removal of its significant safety concerns on our aviation sector and our upgrade to Category 1 under the US FAA]

    ICAO is the International Civil Aviation Organization and the US FAA is the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States.

    The president said all of these accomplishments seem to have been set aside because of the problems facing public transportation, especially the chain of events in the MRT-3.

    Aquino reported in his final SONA that the government is doing its part to make sure that the rail system will be improved and that the DOTC is working on rehabilitating and upgrading the system.

    Elevator maintenance contract
    Recently, the DOTC awarded the contract for the maintenance of 34 escalators and 32 elevators of the MRT-3 system to International Elevator & Equipment, Inc. (IEEI).

    Under the P8.17-million contract, IEEI will manage the upkeep of the MRT-3 escalators and elevators over the next six months.

    The contract requires IEEI to maintain the Mitsubishi-brand conveyance facilities as the brand’s exclusive distributor of elevators and escalators.

    Meanwhile, for longer-term improvement efforts, contracts for the rehabilitation of the 34 escalators and the replacement of the 32 elevators are already being procured, the DOTC said. As for the 12 Schindler-brand escalators, a maintenance contract was no longer procured as a six-month rehabilitation contract was awarded to Jardine Schindler instead.

    In recent weeks, the DOTC awarded six-month maintenance contracts for the other components of the MRT-3, including rolling stock, depot equipment, signaling equipment, rail tracks and permanent ways; buildings and facilities; communication systems; ticketing systems; and power supply and overhead catenary systems.

    The DOTC said these undertakings are part of its thrust to provide the public with a safe, convenient, and reliable railway system and to address the widespread backlog in MRT-3 improvements over the past 11 years.

    New trains to begin arriving

    Last week the DOTC also said that relief is finally in sight for thousands of weary commuters of the ailing MRT-3 system.

    The DOTC said the prototype train is expected to arrive at the Port of Manila within the week of August 10-14. After assembly and static testing of the unit’s components such as the doors, seats, poles, and hand straps, dynamic testing will be conducted in mid-November.

    The DOTC’s project implementation team is currently in Dalian, China to make final checks on the prototype before it is cleared for shipment to Manila on July 29.

    “This brings us another step closer to upgrading and modernizing the MRT-3 and improving our services to the public,” Abaya said.

    The project implementation team is currently going through a checklist with Dalian Locomotive to ensure that the prototype train is compliant with the technical components and specifications of the train coaches.

    During their last visit in June, the team approved Dalian Locomotive’s choice of better traction motors, which incorporate alternating current (AC) technology for the 48 brand-new train cars that will be delivered to Manila starting in the first quarter of 2016.

    The DOTC is also acquiring 30 four-car trains or 120 coaches for Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 as part of the Cavite Extension Project, which will extend the current line from Baclaran to Niog in Bacoor, Cavite. The project will be tendered later this year.

    Meanwhile, with the successful pilot test of the new tap-and-go ticketing system at the Legarda station of the LRT-2 system last week, the DOTC and the Light Rail Transit Authority also conducted trial runs of the smart card-based scheme at the Betty Go-Belmonte station starting July 23.

    The unified contactless ticketing system will be activated at the nine remaining stations over the next two weeks before it is implemented on the LRT-1 and MRT-3.

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