DOTr eyes more MRT trains with arrival of new spare parts

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The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday assured the riding public that the first batch of newly procured spare parts for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) would be delivered this February.

“Around 70 percent of what we were able to procure in December will be arriving around the middle of February,” DOTr-MRT 3 media relations officer Aly Narvaez said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday.

The spare parts are vital in increasing the number of trains that reduces waiting time for passengers on the MRT platforms.

“Sa Pebrero, inaasahang darating na ang unang batch ng mga binili nating spare parts. Napakabilis nito kung ihahambing sa regular na proseso ng pagbili ng spare parts na inaabot ng hanggang anim na buwan (The initial batch of procured spare parts is expected to arrive this February. This is much faster compared with the regular procurement process of spare parts, which takes up to six months),” DOTr-MRT3 said in a statement Thursday.

“Kapag dumating na ang mga bagong spare parts, inaasahang unti-unti na muli nating maiaakyat ang bilang ng mga bumibiyaheng tren at mababawasan na rin ang pagtirik ng mga ito habang bumibiyahe (When the new spare parts arrive, we expect to increase the number of trains and prevent the glitches that are currently happening),” it added.

Since a Maintenance Transition Team (MTT) of the DOTr took over last November following the termination of its maintenance contract with Busan Universal Rail Inc (BURI), the operating trains of the MRT have been reduced to 15 on peak hours to ensure that train coaches are well-maintained before these are deployed to the railway line.

According to the DOTr, BURI has failed to procure the necessary spare parts and ensure the availability of the required number of trains for the railway system.

Only three freight cars were overhauled by the former maintenance provider instead of 43 freight cars from 2016 to 2017.

The MRT management has created a Special Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) that will expedite the procurement of the spare parts.

Last December, the BAC has procured a total of 18,579 spare parts, broken down as follows: rolling stock, 9,515; tracks, 7,776; Overhead Catenary System (OCS), 1,109; and, power, 179.

The suppliers for the spare parts include Pink Armour Corporation for power and OCS, Linkers Enterprises for rolling stock, and Nikka Trading for the railway tracks.

The MRT management is also eyeing the deployment of 20 trains with four cars daily, with a headway of three minutes and running 60 kilometers per hour, to address rising passenger demand.

DOTr is currently implementing the following strategies to improve the operations of the MRT: promoting accountability with the termination of BURI, ensuring continued service delivery by establishing the MTT and purchasing needed spare parts, contracting a rehabilitation and maintenance service provider together with an ODA partner, and putting in place a long-term maintenance and operator provider for MRT 3.
(Philippine News Agency)