THE Senate public services sub-committee on transportation on Monday gave the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) five-days for it to submit a report on current status of the upgrade and rehabilitation works on Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3), in wake of repeated system malfunctions amid higher fares.
“Our commuters have long been aggrieved, and any further delay in the accomplishment of vowed upkeep and upgrade is certainly unacceptable. We must hold accountable all those negligent in carrying out their duties,” Sen. Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate sub-committee, said.
Poe, in asking for the report, wants to know the exact level of progress of 11 various MRT 3 rehabilitation works amounting to P3.9 billion, four of which are scheduled to be completed this year.
Poe was referring to the MRT 3 rehabilitation deliverables presented by DOTC Secretary Emilio Abaya during a Senate panel hearing on February 2 that is expected to improve performance of MRT 3 trains and the state of its stations once completed.
Rehabilitation works include rail replacement and signaling system upgrade to be completed by September 2015; supply of traction motors, October 2015; radio communications upgrade, November 2015; and consulting services, April 2015 (procurement).
Other rehabilitation works that are scheduled for completion in 2016 include ancillary system, supply of OCS road-rail vehicle, supply of grinding machine rail vehicle, total replacement of signaling system and conveyance facilities. General train overhaul is expected to be completed by June 2017.
Aside from the train system rehabilitation and upgrade works, Poe also asked Abaya and train officials to report on the completion of the maintenance of facilities particularly the elevators and escalators, and restrooms including installation of elevated water tanks that is scheduled to be completed this May.
According to Poe, DOTC Director for Operations Renato San Jose has assured the committee the completion of the installation of elevated water tanks amounting to P5 million.
Meanwhile, the DOTC chief also committed the completion of the full rehabilitation of the restrooms in all stations by the “end of the year or early next year.”
During the hearing, Abaya noted that while the Manila Rail Transit Corp. is the one in charge of the upgrade and rehabilitation and that the DOTC is not in a position to do so, they decided to step in so that the problem can be addressed immediately.
Poe also reminded the DOTC to submit a report on deductions it has made as “penalties for non-performance” by maintenance provider APT Global, which currently receives P57 million per month.
The DOTC announced the temporary closure of MRT 3 operations from 9 p.m. of February 28 to 12 noon of March 1 to give way to rail replacement works. About 6,000 linear meters of rails need to be replaced.
The announcement came after a series of technical glitches experienced by the elevated train system last month, the latest was on February 27, when a southbound train stopped abruptly during morning rush hour.
“If commuters are paying higher fares, it is only reasonable for them to expect improved service. An efficient and reliable mass transportation system helps improve workforce productivity and our economy,” Poe said.