Opposition lawmakers want Congress to look into the accountability of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) service providers after their trains again experienced a glitch last week.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate on Sunday said they have talked with train experts who revealed that under international standards, light rail vehicles such as those operated by MRT 3 last for 25 years or even 35 years if they are properly maintained.
“Now, MRT 3 has only been operating for at most 15 years since it started its operations only in 1999, but how come it’s already breaking down so miserably?” he added.
“ . . . [W]e will request the House transportation committee or even the [House] Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability to summon past and present operations and maintenance providers of the MRT. This issue should not be taken lightly because they are playing with the lives of millions of passengers here,” Zarate said.
The lawmaker called on Malacañang to suspend all new MRT 3 deals and to review the train operator’s past contracts pending suggested hearings on the issue.
Rep. Neri Colmenares, also of Bayan Muna party-list, cited the need to observe extreme due diligence because “we are not only dealing with billions of pesos but with the lives of millions of MRT 3 passengers.”
“We need to see and examine all the contracts involving MRT 3 because it seems that we are being duped and short-changed,” he said, noting that billions are paid from national coffers for these deals yet the services are a “failure.”
“As for the latest glitch being caused by lightning, does this mean that every time there is lightning the MRT would stop? That’s too much inconvenience,” Colmenares said.
The MRT blamed the technical problem that halted operations of MRT 3 on Tuesday on lightning.
A tweet by radio dzBB quoted MRT 3 spokesman Hernando Cabrera as saying that a problem with a power cable stopped the MRT train from reaching North Avenue station in Quezon City.
MRT 3 passes through Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (Edsa), between North Avenue and Taft Avenue.
The rail line has a capacity of 350,000 but carries as many as 500,000 passengers a day.