No more cramped, turtle-paced MRT-3 rides by early 2021? | Inquirer Business
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No more cramped, turtle-paced MRT-3 rides by early 2021?

/ 04:09 AM February 26, 2020

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said a promise to restore the busy Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) to its original capacity and operating condition could come earlier than expected.

According to Undersecretary for railways at the DOTr Timothy John Batan, progress on the MRT-3 rehabilitation that formally started in May 2019 is about “three months advanced.”

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The DOTr earlier tapped the services of Japanese firms Sumitomo Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to restore the MRT-3 in 26 months or by July 2021. Batan told reporters they would meet that target or even deliver much earlier.

“We are currently ahead of schedule,” he also said during a Transport Talks forum on Monday.

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Commuters will benefit from the rehabilitation of the MRT, which runs along the busy Edsa road in Metro Manila.

Ease road congestion

Batan said the program would increase the number of operating train sets during peak hours to 20 from the current 15, increase the MRT-3’s speed to 60 kilometers per hour (kph) from 30 kph, and cut waiting times between trains to 3.5 minutes from 7.5 minutes.

The project will also ease road congestion as commuters return to the MRT-3, which some have shunned because of constant breakdowns. From 300,000 riders per day, the MRT-3 can again cater to 600,000 commuters once fully rehabilitated, Batan said.

28 years payable

Sumitomo, the original maintenance provider for the MRT-3’s first 12 years, was awarded the rehabilitation project on Dec. 27, 2018.

The total value of Sumitomo’s proposal was 36.92 billion Japanese yen or about P17 billion. This was financed by a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The interest rate was set at 0.1 percent a year, payable in 28 years after a 12-year grace period.

According to the DOTr, the contract with Sumitomo will cover the MRT-3’s electromechanical components, power supply, rail tracks, depot equipment and the overhaul of 72 train coaches. INQ

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