DOTC vows better rail service

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RAIL commuters should expect better services next year with the arrival of new coaches and completion of the repair of conveyance systems in various stations, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) said Monday.

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Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told senators that the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) will have new trains in 2016.

At the resumption of the Senate subcommittee on public services hearing on the problems facing Metro Manila’s train systems, Abaya said the DOTC ordered 48 brand new coaches from Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co., Ltd costing P3.8 billion.

Three to six trains are set to be delivered early in 2016.

Abaya said 12 new escalators will be delivered by December while the repair of elevators and escalators in MRT and LRT stations will also start next month.

“If the question is will the train service improve the answer is yes, we are confident that it will improve,” Abaya told reporters after the hearing.

But Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the sub-panel, is not convinced.

Poe pointed out that the engines have yet to arrive and even if the prototype is completed, the DOTC can only conduct static testing which involve the opening and closing of train doors.

She said DOTC officials also could not say when rails can be replaced because they are waiting for the approval of the Department Science and Technology (DOST) on the composition of the rails.

MRT will be replacing 7,000 meters of dilapidated rails.

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