TRUE to his word, Palace Spokesman Harry Roque rode the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 on Thursday.
He was lucky. The ride that started at the North Avenue station in Quezon City was smooth and glitch-free.
However, Roque was seen sweating profusely after alighting at the MRT’s EDSA-Taft Station in Pasay City. After wiping off his sweat, he transferred to LRT-1 and got off at the Central Station in Manila. He then rode a car to Malacañang.
“The line is quite long, pero napakabilis at napakalamig (but the train ride was fast and it was very cool [inside the train]),” Roque said in a video taken inside his car after his rail rides.
“It only shows that we need more MRT coaches and a good maintenance service providers,” he added.
The Duterte administration has blamed the Busan Universal Rail Inc. (BURI)—the former maintenance provider of MRT 3—for the almost daily glitches that hounded the MRT. Last week, a coach was separated from the rest of the train, leaving more than a hundred passengers stranded on the rail tracks.
“We did not encounter problems, so I would say that my experience was okay,” Roque said. “It was the rush hour which is understandable. It really boils down to the lack of train coaches,” he added.
Roque earlier appealed to the public to give the government more time to fix the rail problems.
On Thursday, the Department of Transportation said it is currently in talks with Sumitomo, the ex-maintenance provider of MRT3, to service the train system again.
“High level discussions are ongoing with potential qualified and experienced partners who can provide the maintenance requirements of MRT-3, including Sumitomo Corporation and its technical partner, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, to MRT-3,” the DOTr said in a statement.
Sumitomo was MRT-3’s maintenance provider prior to Korean company Busan Universal Rail Inc. whose contract was terminated by the government.
with REICELENE JOY N. IGNACIO