DOTC: HUMAN ERROR CAUSED MRT MISHAP  

AUGUST 18 --Investigators from the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) saw “human error” arising from failure to follow procedure and overspeeding as causing a Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3) train to overshoot the Taft Avenue station last Aug. 13. Speaking to reporters, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the government is set to file administrative charges against the two train drivers, as well as two personnel from the control center, for gross neglect, inefficiency in the performance of official functions, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and violation of reasonable rules and regulations. “Yes, that was the conclusion,” he said. Transportation Undersecretary for Operations Edwin Lopez headed the investigation team. Abaya cited poor coordination or reporting procedures between the train drivers and the control center supervisors.

Office Order No. 059 issued in October 2000 requires that a stalled train must be brought to the nearest station platform for passengers to be unloaded, he added. Abaya said based on that order, the stalled train should have been towed to the Magallanes station instead of the Taft Ave. station. The actual location of the distressed train was unknown to the control center supervisor, and coordination with the Magallanes station supervisor was not established, he added. Investigations showed that only the driver of the assisting train performed the standard coupling and commenced hauling procedures even with no clear approval from the control center supervisor, Abaya said. Under the procedure, both drivers of the assisting and distressed trains were supposed to perform the standard coupling procedure. Abaya said the driver of the assisting train thought that both trains coupled when it rammed the distressed train.

However, the driver of the assisting train, upon seeing the warning lights in the train’s panel, disembarked and cranked the coupling mechanism, causing both trains to disengage and decouple, he added. Abaya said the driver of the assisting train did not observe the 15-kilometer per hour speed limit and was running at about 40 kph. “Based on the black box reading of assisting train, the driver went over the design speed,” he said. Abaya said upon reaching the peak of the Magallanes station, the driver of the assisting train was surprised when he saw the distressed train disengage. After the train disengaged, the driver of the distressed train possibly tried to apply the braking system, which did not work, prompting him to direct passengers to brace for impact, he added. Abaya said both trains drivers and two control center supervisors face sanctions, including dismissal from service and forfeiture of benefits. Both drivers are contractual employees. * READ MORE...

ALSO MRT STALLED AGAIN: Communications breakdown stops MRT operations  

AUGUST 23 --Communications system breakdown brought to a halt the operations of Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Hernando Cabrera, MRT/LRT spokesman, told INQUIRER.net. Cabrera said the MRT-3 was forced to suspend its operations from 12:05 p.m. until repairs were completed. “Two-way continuous and constant communications between train operators and the control center is a vital safety feature of MRT and LRT systems. Without proper two-way constant and continuous communications between train drivers and control center, we cannot operate for safety reasons,” he said. Inquirer entertainment editor Bayani San Diego, who was at the scene, earlier reported that the MRT train in Pasay was not moving.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO: MRT won’t resume operations Saturday  

AUGUST 23 --The Metro Rail Transit (MRT) will no longer resume its train operations Saturday. Metro Rail Transit (MRT) spokesman Hernando Cabrera said this was due to the ongoing repair of the communications system of the MRT. “MRT-3 will no longer resume operations today. Communications still down, repairs still ongoing,” Cabrera said in an advisory. He said he would advise the public on Saturday night for further advisories as to when the train would resume perations. On Saturday afternoon, MRT-3 was forced to suspend its operations due to a communications breakdown.THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: About the The Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 3 (MRT-3) 

The Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 3 (MRT-3) is a rapid transit line in Metro Manila in
the Philippines. It is the second rapid transit line in Metro Manila when it started operation in 1999, and the third line under the Metropolitan Manila Strategic Mass Rail Transit Development Plan. It forms part of the region's rail transport infrastructure, that includes the Manila Light Rail Transit System composed two lines which are the LRT-1 and MRT-2, and the Metro Commuter Line of the Philippine National Railways. MRT-3 line is colored blue (old) and yellow (new) on railway maps of the metropolitan area.The thirteen-station, 16.9-kilometer (10.5 mi) line generally runs in the north-south direction of the Metro area, to-and-fro San Roque in Pasay, then Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay and Quezon City. Its track runs above (below or along on some) segments of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.

The MRT-3 is operated by the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC), a private company operating in partnership with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) under a Build-Operate-Transfer agreement.
Although initially referred to as LRT-3 due to the system running light rail vehicles, the line, is formally known as the MRT-3 taking the acronyms of the operator, Metro Rail Transit Corporation. Although it has characteristics of light rail, such as the type of rolling stock used, it is more akin to a rapid transit system qualifying at least as a light metro. The ridership on the current coverage of the line, though, is way over its maximum capacity. Future capacity expansion of the system by acquisition of new trains is expected to address the capacity problem of the railway line. An MRT-3 train approaching Ayala Station. The line serves 13 stations on 16.9 kilometers (10.5 mi) of line, spaced on average around 1,300 metres (4,300 ft) apart. The rails are mostly elevated and erected either over or along the roads covered, with sections below ground before and after Buendia and Ayala stations, the only underground stations on the line. The southern terminus of the line is the Taft Avenue station at the intersection between Epifanio de los Santos Avenue and Taft Avenue, while the northern terminus is the North Avenue station along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in Barangay Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City.  The rail line serves the cities that Circumferential Road 4 (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) passes through: Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay and Quezon City.* CONTINUE READING....

(ALSO: Abaya: MRT drivers not scapegoats  

PHOTO: DILG Sec Mar Roxas and DOTC Sec. Jose Emilio Abaya. Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya denied that Metro Rail Transit (MRT) drivers are being used as scapegoats for the accident last week. --Speaking to dzMM, Abaya reiterated that an investigation revealed that human error caused an MRT train to crash into a barrier at the Taft Avenue Station last August 13. Abaya denied that blame is being pinned on the drivers of the MRT so that government officials can escape liability. He said the DOTC legal team has been asked to determine whether higher officials should be charged for the accident.

''Hindi po, unang-una, di tayop mapagtakip. Mahalaga sa lahat ang welfare ng tropa, iyung mga tao, dahil sila ang mahalagang asset sa organisasyon,'' he told dzMM. ''Pero dito talagang hinayaaan ko yung nag-investigate… sabi ko silipin ng mabuti, lalo na maintenance." In a press conference on Tuesday, Abaya said the drivers of the distressed train and the assisting train, and two more from the control center, are facing administrative charges for "poor coordination and reporting procedures" in the operation of the system. "We checked on the material failure [there was none]. Those trains – if you conduct the proper procedures – they will couple [lock]," he said. * READ MORE...

ALSO Update: MRT accident injures 39 passengers  

A defective Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 train overshot its tracks and ran past Taft Avenue station in Pasay City Wednesday afternoon, injuring at least 34 passengers on board. One of the passengers who was hurt gestures as she was wheeled away from the train that overshot the railway. Thirty four people were reportedly hurt (Photo by Ali Vikoy)
According to MRT 3 spokesperson Atty. Hernando Cabrera, Train 003-B carrying southbound passengers was stalled between Magallanes and Taft Avenue station after losing power supply past 4 p.m. Wednesday. As part of the railway standard operating procedure, Cabrera said the defective train had to be pushed to the nearby station by the next oncoming train. The two trains had to be coupled or linked together but along the way, the coupling disconnected.

“Ang nangyari, nung tinutulak na siya papuntang Taft, natanggal yung coupling. Kumalas yung link, umusad mag-isa yung train since wala siyang power, di makapagbrake hanggang sa umabot siya sa Taft at bumangga sya sa stopper. Tinamaan at nawasak yung stopper, nasira rin yung harap ng train,” Cabrera told reporters. The official confirmed that the accident caused injuries to the passengers on-board the defective train. “Dahil sa biglang bangga, may mga injured na pasahero. Now we are trying to determine the number of injured passengers and the extent of their injuries,” he said. Various news reports put the number of injured passengers to 34, which were individually rushed to San Juan de Dios Hospital, Pasay City General Hospital and Manila Adventist Medical Center for emergency medical attention. * READ MORE...

ALSO Philstar Opinion: Legal woes prevent MRT3 rehab  

The last time I asked DOTC Sec. Jun Abaya when government plans to complete the buyout of the private owners of MRT 3, he texted back: “we are awaiting DOF on the buyout. Hope we can execute within the year.”  So I sent Finance Sec. Cesar Purisima a PM on Facebook asking him about it. He has not replied after four days. Normally, Sec. Purisima is quick to reply to my queries. I suspect he does not know how to answer me so it was better to ignore me. A government buyback of the full ownership of MRT3 is the cleanest way of initiating any real rehab of the system. What the government now owns through some government banks is just some 80 percent of the economic rights. The equity or ownership rights are still with the original private sector builders of the system.

President Aquino signed EO 126 last year instructing DOTC and the Department of Finance (DOF) to buy out MRT 3 from MRTC in accordance with the build-lease-transfer (BLT) agreement covering the system. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has set aside a P56-billion budget for the complete government takeover of the MRT3 in the 2014 national budget. DOTC and DOF has done nothing all thus time. Sec. Jun Abaya keeps on saying that government will buy out the system but that seems to be just talk. MRTC officials claim Sec. Jun has not even found the time to sit down with them to discuss this buyout or any other matter concerning MRT3. Buying out MRTC is important if government is serious about rehabilitating MRT3. Let me explain… The MRT3 system was built and financed by a private sector company, MRTC that is fully owned by MRT Holdings. It turned over the completed rail line to DOTC, which is supposed to run it and pay lease to the private owners.

Keeping the system maintained and even buying new rolling stock among others is supposed to be done by MRTC. But government has taken over these functions. MRTC and DOTC have different stories on how this happened. MRTC claims they aren’t even allowed to conduct a technical audit of the system. Government denies that. MRTC acknowledges that they got a verbal yes from DOTC to here experts to inspect the maintenance of the system. But when they flew in experts from MTR Hong Kong at some expense, the audit team was not allowed entry to the MRT depot by then MRT GM Al Vitangcol. There is, however, good news. I have just been informed that the new MRT GM Honorito Chaneco has agreed to the inspection. According to an official of MRTC, “we convinced him that it was for his own good to have an audit done right away. “Even then, it took almost two months of pushing before DOTC agreed. The MTR HK team will be in town by next week to conduct the audit which is expected to take 72 man days.” *CONTINUE READING...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

DOTC: Human error caused MRT mishap


MRT train overshoots railway; 39 injured Aug 13| Manila Bulletin

MANILA, AUGUST 25, 2014 (PHILSTAR) POSTED AUGUST 18, 2014, By Lawrence Agcaoili  - Investigators from the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) saw “human error” arising from failure to follow procedure and overspeeding as causing a Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3) train to overshoot the Taft Avenue station last Aug. 13.

Speaking to reporters, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the government is set to file administrative charges against the two train drivers, as well as two personnel from the control center, for gross neglect, inefficiency in the performance of official functions, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and violation of reasonable rules and regulations.

“Yes, that was the conclusion,” he said.

Transportation Undersecretary for Operations Edwin Lopez headed the investigation team.

Abaya cited poor coordination or reporting procedures between the train drivers and the control center supervisors.

Office Order No. 059 issued in October 2000 requires that a stalled train must be brought to the nearest station platform for passengers to be unloaded, he added.

Abaya said based on that order, the stalled train should have been towed to the Magallanes station instead of the Taft Ave. station.

The actual location of the distressed train was unknown to the control center supervisor, and coordination with the Magallanes station supervisor was not established, he added.

Investigations showed that only the driver of the assisting train performed the standard coupling and commenced hauling procedures even with no clear approval from the control center supervisor, Abaya said.

Under the procedure, both drivers of the assisting and distressed trains were supposed to perform the standard coupling procedure.

Abaya said the driver of the assisting train thought that both trains coupled when it rammed the distressed train.

However, the driver of the assisting train, upon seeing the warning lights in the train’s panel, disembarked and cranked the coupling mechanism, causing both trains to disengage and decouple, he added.

Abaya said the driver of the assisting train did not observe the 15-kilometer per hour speed limit and was running at about 40 kph.

“Based on the black box reading of assisting train, the driver went over the design speed,” he said.

Abaya said upon reaching the peak of the Magallanes station, the driver of the assisting train was surprised when he saw the distressed train disengage.

After the train disengaged, the driver of the distressed train possibly tried to apply the braking system, which did not work, prompting him to direct passengers to brace for impact, he added.

Abaya said both trains drivers and two control center supervisors face sanctions, including dismissal from service and forfeiture of benefits.

Both drivers are contractual employees.

* Abaya said the government would monitor the strict observance of all safety and operational procedures and policies, including immediate evacuation of passengers to the nearest station to prevent a repeat of the incident.

The government would also prioritize the review and upgrade of all safety and operational procedures, particularly with regards to hauling or coupling procedure, passenger evacuation and communication procedure, he added.

Abaya said the 40 kph speed limit being implemented at the Light Rail Transit line 1 (LRT-1) along Taft Ave. would also be adopted by the MRT-3 from the present speed limit of 50 kph. – With Delon Porcalla, Paolo Romero

FROM THE INQUIRER

MRT STALLED AGAIN: Communications breakdown stops MRT operations By Nestor Corrales |INQUIRER.net1:42 pm | Saturday, August 23rd, 2014


An MRT train is stalled at the Boni Station in Mandaluyong City. WINSTON OLARTE/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Communications system breakdown brought to a halt the operations of Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Hernando Cabrera, MRT/LRT spokesman, told INQUIRER.net.

Cabrera said the MRT-3 was forced to suspend its operations from 12:05 p.m. until repairs were completed.

“Two-way continuous and constant communications between train operators and the control center is a vital safety feature of MRT and LRT systems. Without proper two-way constant and continuous communications between train drivers and control center, we cannot operate for safety reasons,” he said.

Inquirer entertainment editor Bayani San Diego, who was at the scene, earlier reported that the MRT train in Pasay was not moving.

MRT won’t resume operations Saturday By Nestor Corrales |INQUIRER.net6:03 pm | Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—The Metro Rail Transit (MRT) will no longer resume its train operations Saturday.

Metro Rail Transit (MRT) spokesman Hernando Cabrera said this was due to the ongoing repair of the communications system of the MRT.

“MRT-3 will no longer resume operations today. Communications still down, repairs still ongoing,” Cabrera said in an advisory.

He said he would advise the public on Saturday night for further advisories as to when the train would resume operations.

On Saturday afternoon, MRT-3 was forced to suspend its operations due to a communications breakdown.

FROM WIKIPEDIA

The Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 3 (MRT-3)


North Avenue Station platform area

The Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 3 (MRT-3) is a rapid transit line in Metro Manila in the Philippines.

It is the second rapid transit line in Metro Manila when it started operation in 1999, and the third line under the Metropolitan Manila Strategic Mass Rail Transit Development Plan. It forms part of the region's rail transport infrastructure, that includes the Manila Light Rail Transit System composed two lines which are the LRT-1 and MRT-2, and the Metro Commuter Line of the Philippine National Railways.

MRT-3 line is colored blue (old) and yellow (new) on railway maps of the metropolitan area.The thirteen-station, 16.9-kilometer (10.5 mi) line generally runs in the north-south direction of the Metro area, to-and-fro San Roque in Pasay, then Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay and Quezon City. Its track runs above (below or along on some) segments of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.

The MRT-3 is operated by the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC), a private company operating in partnership with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) under a Build-Operate-Transfer agreement.

Although initially referred to as LRT-3 due to the system running light rail vehicles, the line, is formally known as the MRT-3 taking the acronyms of the operator, Metro Rail Transit Corporation. Although it has characteristics of light rail, such as the type of rolling stock used, it is more akin to a rapid transit system qualifying at least as a light metro.

The ridership on the current coverage of the line, though, is way over its maximum capacity. Future capacity expansion of the system by acquisition of new trains is expected to address the capacity problem of the railway line.


An MRT-3 train approaching Ayala Station.

The line serves 13 stations on 16.9 kilometers (10.5 mi) of line, spaced on average around 1,300 metres (4,300 ft) apart.The rails are mostly elevated and erected either over or along the roads covered, with sections below ground before and after Buendia and Ayala stations, the only underground stations on the line. The southern terminus of the line is the Taft Avenue station at the intersection between Epifanio de los Santos Avenue and Taft Avenue, while the northern terminus is the North Avenue station along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in Barangay Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City.

The rail line serves the cities that Circumferential Road 4 (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) passes through: Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay and Quezon City.

* Three stations currently serve as interchanges between the lines operated by the MRTC, LRTA and PNR. Magallanes Station is nearby to EDSA Station on the PNR, Araneta Center-Cubao is connected by a covered walkway to its namesake station of the MRT-2; and Taft Avenue Station is connected via covered walkway to the EDSA Station of the LRT-1.

The MRT-3 is open from 5:30 a.m. PST (UTC+8) until 11:00 p.m on weekdays, and 5:30 a.m. PST (UTC+8) until 10:00 pm during weekends and holidays. It operates almost every day of the year unless otherwise announced. Special schedules are announced via the PA system in every station and also in newspapers and other mass media.

During Holy Week, a public holiday in the Philippines, the rail system is closed for annual maintenance, owing to fewer commuters and traffic around the metro. Normal operation resumes on Easter Sunday.

The MRT-3 has experimented with extended opening hours in the last few years. It experimented with 24-hour operations beginning on June 1, 2009, primarily aimed at serving call center agents and other workers in the business process outsourcing sector. Citing low ridership figures and financial losses, this was suspended after two days, and operations were instead extended from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.

MRT-3 operations subsequently returned to the former schedule by April 2010, but services were again extended starting March 10, 2014, with trains running on a trial basis from 4:30 am to 11:30 pm in anticipation of major traffic buildup in light of several major road projects beginning in 2014.

History


A northbound MRT-3 train leaving Shaw Boulevard Station


Taft Avenue Station platform area

During the construction of the first line of the Manila Light Rail Transit System in the early 1980s, Electrowatt Engineering Services of Zürich designed a comprehensive plan for metro service in Metro Manila.

The plan—still used as the basis for planning new metro lines—consisted of a 150-kilometer (93 mi) network of rapid transit lines spanning all major corridors within 20 years, including a line on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, the region's busiest road corridor.

The MRT-3 (originally LRT-3) project officially began in 1989, five years after the opening of the LRT Line 1, with the Hong Kong-based EDSA LRT Corporation winning the public bidding for the line's construction. However, construction never commenced, with the project stalled as the Philippine government conducted several investigations into alleged irregularities with the project's contract.

A consortium of local real estate companies, led by Fil-Estate Management, later formed the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) in June 1995 and took over the EDSA LRT Corporation.

The MRTC was subsequently awarded a Build-Operate-Transfer contract by the DOTC.

The DOTC would have ownership of the system and assume all administrative functions, such as the regulation of fares and operations. The MRTC would have responsibility over construction and maintenance of the system and the procurement of spare parts for trains. In exchange, the DOTC would pay the MRTC monthly fees for a certain number of years to reimburse any incurred costs.

Construction started on October 15, 1996, with a BOT agreement signed between the Philippine government and the MRTC.

An amended turnkey agreement was later signed on September 16, 1997 with a consortium of companies, which included Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Sumitomo Corporation, and a local company, EEI Corporation, which was subcontracted for civil works. A separate agreement was signed with ČKD on rolling stock.

MRTC also retained the services of ICF Kaiser Engineers and Constructors to provide program management and technical oversight of the services for the design, construction management and commissioning.

During construction, the MRTC oversaw the design, construction, equipping, testing, and commissioning, while the DOTC oversaw technical supervision of the project activities covered by the BOT contract between the DOTC and MRTC.

The DOTC also sought the services of Systra, a French consultant firm, with regards to the technical competence, experience and track record in the construction and operations.

On December 15, 1999, the initial section from North Avenue to Buendia was inaugurated by President Joseph Estrada, with all remaining stations opening on July 20, 2000, a little over a month past the original deadline.

Ridership Complaints

However, ridership was initially far below expectations, with passengers complaining of the stations' steep stairs and the general lack of connectivity with other modes of public transportation.

Passengers also complained of high ticket prices, with the maximum fare of ₱34 at the time being significantly higher than a comparable journey on those lines operated by the LRTA and PNR.

Although the MRTC projected 300,000-400,000 passengers riding the system daily, in the first month of operation the system saw a ridership of only 40,000 passengers daily.

The system was even criticized as a white elephant alongside the Manila Light Rail Transit System and the Metro Manila Skyway.

To alleviate passenger complaints, the MRTC later retrofitted stations with escalators and elevators for easier access, as well as reducing passenger fares. By 2004, the MRT-3 had the highest ridership of the three lines, with 400,000 passengers daily.

Station facilities, amenities, and services


Buendia Station, one of the MRT-3 stations with an island platform.


The entrance to Ayala station as seen from the Ayala Center


Bridge linking the MRT-3 Taft Avenue Station to the nearby LRT-1 EDSA Station

With the exception of Buendia Avenue and Ayala Avenue stations, and the platform level of Taft Avenue and Boni Avenue stations, all stations are above ground, taking advantage of the topology of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.

Station layout and accessibility

MRT-3 stations have a standard layout, with a concourse level and a platform level. The concourse is usually above the platform, with stairs, escalators and elevators leading down to the platform level.

Station concourses contain ticket booths, which is separated from the platform level by fare gates. Some stations, such as Araneta Center-Cubao, are connected at concourse level to nearby buildings, such as shopping malls, for easier accessibility. Most stations are also barrier-free inside and outside the station, and trains have spaces for passengers using wheelchairs.

Stations either have island platforms, such as Taft Avenue and Shaw Boulevard, or side platforms, such as Ortigas and North Avenue. Part of the platform corresponding to the front car of the train is cordoned off for the use of women, children, elderly and disabled passengers.

MRT-3 stations are also designed to occupy the entire span of EDSA, allowing passengers to safely cross between one end of the road and the other.

Shops and services

Inside the concourse of all stations is at least one stall or stand where people can buy food or drinks. Stalls vary by station, and some have fast food stalls. The number of stalls also varies by station, and stations tend to have a wide variety, especially in stations such as Ayala and Shaw Boulevard.

Stations such as Taft Avenue and North Avenue are connected to or are near shopping malls and/or other large shopping areas, where commuters are offered more shopping varieties.

Since November 19, 2001, in cooperation with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, passengers are offered copies of the Inquirer Libre, a free, tabloid-size, Tagalog version of the Inquirer, which is available at all MRT-3 stations.

Safety and security

The MRT-3 has always presented itself as a safe system to travel in, which was affirmed in a 2004 World Bank paper prepared by Halcrow describing the overall state of metro rail transit operations in Manila as being "good".

However, in recent years, the safety and reliability of the system has been put into question, with experts calling it "an accident waiting to happen", and while several incidents and accidents were reported between 2011 and 2014, that has not deterred commuters from continuing to patronize the system.

With an estimated daily ridership of 560,000 passengers, the MRT-3 operates significantly above its designed capacity of between 360,000 and 380,000 passengers per day, and has been operating over capacity since 2004.

Government officials have admitted that capacity and system upgrades are overdue, although in the absence of major investment in improving system safety and reliability, MRT-3 management has resorted to experimenting with and/or implementing other solutions to reduce strain on the system, including deploying more trains, crowd management on station platforms, the proposed implementation of peak-hour express train service, and improving the line's signaling system.

However, some of these solutions, such as platform crowd management, are unpopular with passengers.

For safety and security reasons, persons who are visibly intoxicated, insane and/or under the influence of controlled substances, persons carrying flammable materials and/or explosives, persons carrying bulky objects or items over 1.5 metres (5 ft) tall and/or wide, and persons bringing pets and/or other animals are prohibited from entering the MRT-3.

Products in tin cans are also prohibited on board the MRT-3, citing the possibility of home-made bombs being concealed inside the cans.

In response to the Rizal Day bombings and the September 11th attacks, security has been stepped up on board the MRT-3. The Philippine National Police has a special police force on the MRT-3, and security police provided by private companies can be found in all MRT-3 stations.

All MRT-3 stations have a head guard. Some stations may also have a deployed K9 bomb-sniffing dog. The MRT-3 also employs the use of closed-circuit television inside all stations to monitor suspicious activities and to assure safety and security aboard the line. Passengers are also advised to look out for thieves, who can take advantage of the crowding aboard MRT-3 trains. Wanted posters are posted at all MRT-3 stations to help commuters identify known thieves.

Fares and ticketing


A sample MRT-3 stored value ticket bearing the face of then-President Joseph Estrada released in 2000.


The design of the single journey ticket with neutral design as of 2012.

The design of the P100 stored value ticket as of 2012. It also indicates the new color designation of the MRT-3.

The MRT-3, like the LRT-1 and MRT-2, uses a distance-based fare structure, with fares ranging from ten to fifteen pesos (23 to 35 U.S. cents), depending on the destination.

Commuters who ride the MRT-3 are charged ₱10 for the first three stations, ₱11 for 4–5 stations, ₱12 for 6–8 stations, ₱14 for 9–11 stations and ₱15 for 12 stations or the entire line. Children below 1.02 metres (3 ft 4.4 in) (the height of a fare gate) may ride for free on the MRT-3.

Types of tickets

Two types of MRT-3 tickets exist: a single-journey (one-way) ticket whose cost is dependent on the destination, and a stored-value (multiple-use) ticket for 100 pesos.

The 200-peso & 500-peso stored-value tickets was issued in the past, but has since been phased out. The single-journey ticket is valid only on the date of purchase. Meanwhile, the stored-value ticket is valid for three months from date of first use.

MRT-3 tickets come in three incarnations: one bearing the portrait of Joseph Estrada, which have since been phased out, although some tickets have been recycled due to ticket shortages, one bearing the portrait of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and one bearing the logos of the DOTC and the MRTC.

In the past, the MRTC was also forced, other than recycling the old "Erap tickets", to borrow stored-value tickets from the LRTA, due to the same ticket shortages.

Because of the ticket shortages, it is now common practice for regular MRT-3 passengers to purchase several stored-value tickets at a time, since passengers would not know when or what station the tickets would be available at.

Although new stored-value tickets have arrived, passengers still complain of a lack of tickets at stations. Passengers also complain of a shortage of single-journey tickets, with long lines at MRT-3 ticket booths already common and with the MRTC having to alleviate the ticket shortages through alternate means.

Although the MRT-3 has partnered with private telecommunications companies in experimenting with RFID technology as an alternative ticketing system in the past, these were phased out in 2009.

Fare adjustment

Adjusting passenger fares has been employed by the MRTC as a means to boost flagging ridership figures, and the issue of MRT-3 fares both historically and in the present day continues to be a contentious political issue involving officials at even the highest levels of government.

Current MRT-3 fare levels were set on July 15, 2000 under the orders of President Estrada, meant to become competitive against other modes of transport.

While originally set to last until January 2001, the new fare structure persisted due to strong public opposition against increasing fares, especially as MRT-3 ridership increased significantly after lower fares were implemented.

These lower fares—which are only slightly more expensive than jeepney fares—are financed through large government subsidies amounting to around ₱45 per passenger, and which for both the MRTC and the LRTA reached ₱75 billion between 2004 and 2014. Without subsidies, the cost of a single MRT-3 trip is estimated at around ₱60.

Rolling stock


MRT-3 train with GE Money Bank(BDO) wrap advertising


Inside an MRT-3 train

The MRT-3 owns 73 light rail vehicles made in the Czech Republic by ČKD (now part of Siemens AG) in a three-car configuration. The trains are a gift from the Czech government. Trains have a capacity of 1,182 passengers, which is smaller than the normal capacity of LRT Line 1 first generation rolling stock, although MRT-3 trains came with air conditioning.

Despite this, the MRT-3 is designed to carry in excess of 23,000 passengers per hour per direction (PPHPD), and is expandable to accommodate 48,000 passengers per hour per direction – however, with the line's current 4–6 minute headways, the system's passenger volume is presently closer to 14,000–18,000 passengers per hour per direction.

MRT-3 trains are particularly known for their use of wrap advertising. A wide variety of advertisements can be seen on MRT-3 trains, of which some include Samsung Electronics, Panasonic and Epson products. Trains bearing wrap advertising are now very common aboard the MRT-3, although trains that use MRT-3's house colors are also in service in the network.

The revenues generated from the advertising on MRT-3 trains are used to pay off debts incurred by the MRTC during the system's construction.

Depot

The MRT-3 maintains an underground depot in Quezon City, near North Avenue station. On top of the depot is TriNoma, a shopping mall owned by the Ayala Corporation. It occupies 84,444 square meters (908,948 sq ft) of space and serves as the headquarters for light and heavy maintenance of the MRT-3, as well as the operations of the system in general. It is connected to the main MRT-3 network by a spur line.

The depot is capable of storing 81 light rail vehicles, with the option to expand to include 40 more vehicles as demand arises. They are parked on nine sets of tracks, which converge onto the spur route and later on to the main network.

Plans

Capacity Expansion Project

Due to the high ridership of the line a proposal which is under study by the DOTC and NEDA proposes to double the current capacity by acquiring additional light rail vehicles to accommodate the 520,000 passenger a day requirement.
Automatic Fare Collection System

Automatic Fare Collection System involves the decommissioning of the old-magnetic-based ticketing system and replacing the same with contactless-based smart card technology on LRT Line 1, MRT Line 2 and MRT Line 3, with the introduction of a centralized back office that will perform apportionment of revenues. The private sector will operate and maintain the fare collection system.

On January 31, 2014, DOTC awarded the right to build and operate the smart-card system to AF Consortium. The group comprises Ayala Corporation’s BPI and Globe Telecom, Metro Pacific's Smart Communications and Meralco FinServe, MSI Global, which developed automated fare collection systems’ software in Singapore and Bangkok, and SMRT, which operates Singapore’s mass transit system.

It posted a negative bid of ₱1,088,103,900.00, which edged out the SM Group’s bid of ₱1,088,000,000.00. Under the terms of the AF Consortium bid, there will be an upfront payment of PhP 279 million and the balance of ₱800 million will then be paid in transaction fees when ridership volume reaches 750 million transactions per quarter. 72% of the total amount will only be paid to the government in 2024 or 2025, and only if the conditional volume is met.

North Extension

Although much of the MRT-3 has already been built, the route envisioned by the DOTC and the government in general was for the MRT-3 to traverse the entire length of EDSA (from Monumento to Taft Avenue), eventually connecting to Line 1 at Monumento in Caloocan. The expansion has been shelved in favor of the LRT-1's extension from Monumento to a new common station that it will share with the MRT-3 at North Avenue, thus closing the loop. It is also planned that the southern terminus of the proposed MRT-7, which will link Quezon City, Caloocan (north), and San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan will be sharing the same station.

The National Economic and Development Authority and even President-then Arroyo herself have said that the MRT3-LRT1 link at North Avenue is a national priority, since it would not only provide seamless service between the LRT-1 and the MRT-3, but would also help decongest Metro Manila.

It is estimated that by 2010, when the extension is completed, some 684,000 commuters would use the MRT-3 everyday from the present 400,000, and traffic congestion on EDSA would be cut by as much as fifty percent.

On November 21, 2013, the NEDA board, chaired by President Benigno Aquino III approved the construction of a common station within North Avenue between SM North EDSA and TriNoma Mall. It is estimated to cost 1.4 billion pesos.

It will feature head-to-head platforms for LRT-1 and MRT-3 trains with a 147.4-meter elevated walkalator to MRT-7. SM Investments Corporation posted 200 million pesos for the naming rights of the common station.

Transfer of operations from MRTC to LRTA

Recently a new study for the Metro Manila Rail Network has been unveiled by the DOTC undersecretary for Public Information Dante Velasco that LRT 1, MRT 2, and MRT 3 will be under one management, The Light Rail Transit Authority.

This is due to maintenance cost issues for Line 1's maintenance cost is approximately ₱35 Million only, Line 2 is ₱25 Million only, while Line 3 has a staggering ₱100 Million maintenance cost. Another reason for this study is for the unification of the LRT 1 and the MRT 3 lines. According to DOTC Undersecretary For Rails Glicerio Sicat, the transfer is set by the government in June 2011.

On January 13, 2011, Light Rail Transit Authority Chief Rafael S. Rodriguez took over as officer-in-charge of MRT-3 in preparation for the integration of operations of Yellow, Purple, and Blue Lines.

But with the entry of a new leadership into the MRTC that year and in 2012, the transfer is not likely to happen, however on April 2012 a LRT-1 trainset made the first trial journey to the MRT-3 depot.

MRT-3 is reverted back as independent unit under DOTC.

On May 26, 2014, Vitangcol was sacked by Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, replaced by LRTA Administrator Honorito Chaneco as officer-in-charge.

The move came after Vitangcol was accused by the ambassador of the Czech Republic of extortion and for awarding an anomalous deal to an uncle-in-law.

FROM ABS-CBN

Abaya: MRT drivers not scapegoats by Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 08/20/2014 3:30 PM | Updated as of 08/20/2014 3:30 PM


DILG Sec Mar Roxas and DOTC Sec. Jose Emilio Abaya. Picture from gmanetwork.com

MANILA – Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya denied that Metro Rail Transit (MRT) drivers are being used as scapegoats for the accident last week.

Speaking to dzMM, Abaya reiterated that an investigation revealed that human error caused an MRT train to crash into a barrier at the Taft Avenue Station last August 13.

Abaya denied that blame is being pinned on the drivers of the MRT so that government officials can escape liability. He said the DOTC legal team has been asked to determine whether higher officials should be charged for the accident.

''Hindi po, unang-una, di tayop mapagtakip. Mahalaga sa lahat ang welfare ng tropa, iyung mga tao, dahil sila ang mahalagang asset sa organisasyon,'' he told dzMM.

''Pero dito talagang hinayaaan ko yung nag-investigate… sabi ko silipin ng mabuti, lalo na maintenance."

In a press conference on Tuesday, Abaya said the drivers of the distressed train and the assisting train, and two more from the control center, are facing administrative charges for "poor coordination and reporting procedures" in the operation of the system.

"We checked on the material failure [there was none]. Those trains – if you conduct the proper procedures – they will couple [lock]," he said.

* The accident happened after an MRT train lost power after it had just left Magallanes station. Another train then linked up with the defective train and pushed the latter to the Pasay Taft station. Instead of stopping, the first train was detached from the second train and crashed through the barrier because it had no brakes and also power loss.

Abaya said standard operating procedures in the coupling or locking process should have been followed by the drivers to the letter.

The locking process allows the assisting train to push or pull the distressed and de-energized train.

What happened on Wednesday afternoon, however, was that the assisting driver “bumped” his train into the distressed train that made it appear that the two were already locked.

Proper procedures provide that both train drivers should check and recheck if the levers in the coupling mechanism are aligned before they are locked, he said.

Abaya said the assisting driver was also driving the train above the maximum speed of 15 kilometers per hour.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Update: MRT accident injures 39 passengers by Kris Bayos August 14, 2014 (updated)


MRT3, REUTERS

A defective Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 train overshot its tracks and ran past Taft Avenue station in Pasay City Wednesday afternoon, injuring at least 34 passengers on board.

One of the passengers who was hurt gestures as she was wheeled away from the train that overshot the railway. Thirty four people were reportedly hurt (Photo by Ali Vikoy)
According to MRT 3 spokesperson Atty. Hernando Cabrera, Train 003-B carrying southbound passengers was stalled between Magallanes and Taft Avenue station after losing power supply past 4 p.m. Wednesday.

As part of the railway standard operating procedure, Cabrera said the defective train had to be pushed to the nearby station by the next oncoming train. The two trains had to be coupled or linked together but along the way, the coupling disconnected.

“Ang nangyari, nung tinutulak na siya papuntang Taft, natanggal yung coupling. Kumalas yung link, umusad mag-isa yung train since wala siyang power, di makapagbrake hanggang sa umabot siya sa Taft at bumangga sya sa stopper. Tinamaan at nawasak yung stopper, nasira rin yung harap ng train,” Cabrera told reporters.

The official confirmed that the accident caused injuries to the passengers on-board the defective train.

“Dahil sa biglang bangga, may mga injured na pasahero. Now we are trying to determine the number of injured passengers and the extent of their injuries,” he said.

Various news reports put the number of injured passengers to 34, which were individually rushed to San Juan de Dios Hospital, Pasay City General Hospital and Manila Adventist Medical Center for emergency medical attention.

* In the meantime, Cabrera said MRT 3 personnel are investigating the cause of the accident.

“Ang issue diyan ay yung coupling. Bakit natanggal yung pagkakakabit? Yan ang gusto naming imbistigahan. Is it human error o technical problem?” he said.

The operation of the MRT 3 line, which runs the length of Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA), was temporarily suspended but it eventually normalized at about 5:15 p.m.

“We are running southbound and northbound (trains) but expect delay approaching Taft Avenue because we are utilizing single tract in reversing,” the MRT 3 announced via its Twitter account @dotcmrt_3 at about 5:15 p.m.

In the meantime, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya has instructed the MRT 3 management to assist the passengers injured by the derailment accident in Taft Avenue.

“Secretary Abaya has instructed MRT 3 to assist the injured passengers right away while he inspects the site and gets a full report on the accident,” DoTC spokesperson Atty. Michael Sagcal said.

Meanwhile, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) had asked operators of city buses to ferry serve MRT passengers affected by the accident.

FROM PHILSTAR

Legal woes prevent MRT3 rehab DEMAND AND SUPPLY By Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 20, 2014 – 12:00am


Boo Chanco

The last time I asked DOTC Sec. Jun Abaya when government plans to complete the buyout of the private owners of MRT 3, he texted back: “we are awaiting DOF on the buyout. Hope we can execute within the year.”

So I sent Finance Sec. Cesar Purisima a PM on Facebook asking him about it. He has not replied after four days. Normally, Sec. Purisima is quick to reply to my queries. I suspect he does not know how to answer me so it was better to ignore me.

A government buyback of the full ownership of MRT3 is the cleanest way of initiating any real rehab of the system. What the government now owns through some government banks is just some 80 percent of the economic rights. The equity or ownership rights are still with the original private sector builders of the system.

President Aquino signed EO 126 last year instructing DOTC and the Department of Finance (DOF) to buy out MRT 3 from MRTC in accordance with the build-lease-transfer (BLT) agreement covering the system.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has set aside a P56-billion budget for the complete government takeover of the MRT3 in the 2014 national budget. DOTC and DOF has done nothing all thus time.

Sec. Jun Abaya keeps on saying that government will buy out the system but that seems to be just talk. MRTC officials claim Sec. Jun has not even found the time to sit down with them to discuss this buyout or any other matter concerning MRT3.

Buying out MRTC is important if government is serious about rehabilitating MRT3. Let me explain…

The MRT3 system was built and financed by a private sector company, MRTC that is fully owned by MRT Holdings. It turned over the completed rail line to DOTC, which is supposed to run it and pay lease to the private owners.

Keeping the system maintained and even buying new rolling stock among others is supposed to be done by MRTC. But government has taken over these functions. MRTC and DOTC have different stories on how this happened.

MRTC claims they aren’t even allowed to conduct a technical audit of the system. Government denies that.

MRTC acknowledges that they got a verbal yes from DOTC to here experts to inspect the maintenance of the system. But when they flew in experts from MTR Hong Kong at some expense, the audit team was not allowed entry to the MRT depot by then MRT GM Al Vitangcol.

There is, however, good news. I have just been informed that the new MRT GM Honorito Chaneco has agreed to the inspection. According to an official of MRTC, “we convinced him that it was for his own good to have an audit done right away.

“Even then, it took almost two months of pushing before DOTC agreed. The MTR HK team will be in town by next week to conduct the audit which is expected to take 72 man days.”

* MRTC claims government had been delayed in paying its lease obligation, leading to an arbitration case still pending in Singapore. MRTC also sued locally when DOTC decided to buy new rail cars without its consent as provided in the original BLT agreement. MRTC lost this case.

One would imagine that they should at least start to negotiate because Sec. Abaya already announced possible conclusion of a deal before the end of this year. But DOTC is not even talking to MRTC about the buyout.

No one could give me a good estimate of how much government must pay MRTC to complete a buyout. The rough figure I am hearing is $1 billion. The fact that DBM provided P56 billion in this year’s budget for the buyout seems to indicate a billion dollars is the ballpark figure.

So that’s a billion dollars just to take full control of a totally dilapidated system that requires total reconstruction outside of the civil works. We are talking of new trains, a new signaling system, rehab of the carriageway and electrical system.

This makes me wonder why then DOTC Sec. Mar Roxas boldly announced government would undertake the rehab of MRT3 as he rejected the offer of Manny Pangilinan to do it at no cost to the government. MVP also promised to take away the legal problems because he has an arrangement with the original owners.

The story I heard is that Mar presented MVP’s offer to P-Noy, who supposedly remarked, “Baka naman masyadong yumaman si Manny dyan.” Mar took that as a no and proceeded to announce the rejection of MVP’s offer.

That was almost four years ago. If they took MVP’s offer then, we would not have the problems we have now. Or at the very least we would have been on our way towards rehabilitating MRT 3. Nothing has happened to this day.

But I was also told the DOTC insiders were against MVP’s offer anyway. I am guessing that is possibly because rehabilitating MRT 3 involves a lot of juicy contracts. I was not surprised that after they rejected MVP’s offer, the questionable maintenance contract happened and the unfortunate Inekon story came out. That’s a mockery of Daang Matuwid.

Last week, Sec. Jun Abaya had three unfortunate accidents at MRT3. The first one in Pasay injured scores of passengers. The second one merely caused inconvenience when a train stalled near Santolan. The third involved another stalled train near Buendia. Strike 3 na si Sec. Jun.

Last Monday, there was another reported MRT stalling plus a stalling of a PNR commuter train. PNR is also under DOTC. As a former military man, Abaya should be familiar with the concept of command responsibility.

Sec. Jun is now at the receiving end of very bad comments in social media. MRT’s despicable condition is experienced daily by metro residents who ride it. They resented the comment of Sec. Jun that riding the MRT is a personal choice. Many took that to mean Sec. Jun effectively said, bahala kayo sa buhay nyo… which reminded them of Mar Roxas in Tacloban after Yolanda.

Two things must happen quickly if we are to safeguard the safety of MRT3 commuters. First, government must complete that buyback so they can start the rehab in earnest, or reconsider MVP’s offer if it still stands. Second, Congress must put up a National Transportation Safety Board or NTSB as they have it in the US.

The value of NTSB becomes clear after Sec. Abaya quickly blamed the Pasay accident on the train drivers even before a full investigation. Sec. Jun said the drivers seem to have broken some protocols. Abaya said with a straight face that maintenance isn’t the likely cause because DOTC maintains the system by the book.

Assuming for the sake of argument that the drivers broke protocol in responding to the situation of a stalled train, the train shouldn’t have stalled if it was properly maintained. MRT trains stalled not once but four times in a space of less than a week, indicating something wrong with maintenance… or maybe they have been hiring too many incompetent drivers. In either case, MRT government management is to blame.

With the fact that Sec Jun already has a pet theory on the accident’s cause, how can a DOTC committee that reports to him say otherwise? A fully independent NTSB will give us a better idea of what happened.

The NTSB is also a better investigator of aviation mishaps rather than CAAP. Failure of regulation can cause accidents as seems to be the case in the Robredo crash. There is a clear conflict of interest between CAAP, the regulator, and CAAP, the accident investigator.

Making sure there is readily available and safe public transportation is a responsibility of government. This is one big area where government is visibly and miserably failing. The President must act decisively before a bigger catastrophe happens.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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