DEPUTY presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte admitted on Saturday that the problems at the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) are “biting hard.”
She asked for patience from the public as she gave assurances that the government is doing everything to improve the mass transport system’s services.
“We are now in the process of procuring additional coaches to increase its [loading and trans-porting]capacity,” Valte said.
She noted that 48 new coaches are expected to arrive in 2015. The MRT line services at least 500,000 commuters daily.
“We understand the sentiments of the commuters who endure long lines because it is still the fastest way to their workplace, and rest assured we are pursuing improvements,” Valte said.
“We ask you to bear with us until such time that improvements are realized,” she added.
Valte issued the statement shortly after Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya and Sen. Grace Poe accepted the so-called ride the MRT challenge.
The two officials however got different receptions as Abaya was criticized for riding the MRT with security aides in tow from Ortigas to North Avenue station after lunch on Thursday when coaches are half-full.
Poe, on the other hand re-ceived praises because she took the MRT at 8 a.m. on Friday from North Avenue up to the last station in Taft Avenue.
The senator had to queue for 40 minutes before getting her ticket, which was rejected by a defective turnstile machine.
Valte said that she will also ride the MRT.
“I’ll find time to do it, during rush hour in the morning or in the evening, so that I could see how it is. There is no problem with that,” she said in an interview aired over Radyo ng Bayan.
“But even without doing that, we see the problems that is why we are asking for apology from the riding public who depend on the MRT in getting to their workplaces,” Valte added.
In the last two years, technical and electrical glitches have marred MRT operations which resulted in delayed train arrivals and long queues and overcrowded coaches.
The worst incident happened on August 14 when at least 38 passengers were injured after the MRT coach overshot in the Taft station.