Wednesday, August 20, 2014

MRT-3: Ticket to Calvary

It was August 13, 2014 the day we heard a very bad news about a derailment incident in MRT's Taft Avenue station. According to the information circulating online and on TV, the train that was driven by James Duque stalled because there was low-voltage in the power supply that supports the train, which happened between Magallanes and Taft stations. Meanwhile, the MRT-3 control center’s solution was to push away the train to Taft with the help of another train. The driver of the other train, Heigen Villacarlos, was ordered to discharge his passengers in Magallanes station and put a coupling to the stalled train. When it became operational, the cord was disconnected and it sped down like a roller coaster to the very end of Taft station, jumping to the railway and crashing into a post. There were three cars that were affected by the incident, too. According to Duque, his brakes and emergency button was not functioning, so he was as hopeless as his passengers.

It was no surprise that this kind of accident occur, because EDSA-MRT-3 trains frequently malfunction. I think people just didn't quite expect that such a malfunction could be that intense, especially since there were many passengers who were seriously hurt. I was just wondering that if there was a shortage of power, why is it that only a single train got affected out of all the trains operating at the same time? If all the trains were supposed to be affected, then the rescue train should not be functioning, too. Moreover, the stalled train should not be rescued by another train but by a tow train. Also, why did the control center not realize that heavier things topple easily (excluding ship’s buoyancy) plus the fact that Magallanes area is higher than Taft. Were they absent during Trigonometry class discussing angle of elevation and angle of depression? Okay, I’m being a little nerd here.

Now, Transport Secretary Joseph Abaya totally annoyed the televiewers and the netizens when he said "Riding is a personal decision. I won't go (out) of my way to convince people to ride the MRT." This implied that he was not concerned with people's safety. For a person like me who relies on MRT-3, I fear for any untoward incident that could happen to me when I am riding the train. Even though I do have another choice, like taking a bus or a cab, these alternatives will only make my journey longer and more expensive.

Metro Rail Transport Holdings (MRTH), which owns Metro Rail Transit Corp., said that the maintenance for MRT is being handled by a company called Autre Porte Technique GLobal Inc. (APT Global). The original incorporators of this company are Arturo Soriano, Wilson de Vera, Mario de la Cruz, and Manolo Maralit. Mario de la Cruz is a friend of Abaya and the company he co-founded is not an expert in maintenance. They got the project simply by winning the bid.

Therefore, the drivers were not the ones to blame, because APT Global is giving us a substandard service. The trains were free from accidents for 12 years when the maintenance was handled by Sumitomo Corporation, a Japanese company whose contract with MRT ended in 2010. The maintenance was, then, handled by PH TRAMS, where Mario de la Cruz is chariman, Ever since the maintenance of the MRT-3 was handled by these new companies, (PH TRAMS and ATP Global), train malfunctions seemed more common than usual.


  1. Funny I just dreamed that another incident happened again when I was about to ride. I think the government / DOTC should really take a closer look at the things going around and avoid being selfish and greedy with money. MRT3 riders' lives are at stake here!

  2. The management should totally hire a maintenance company that could make this MRT3 a good one to ride along EDSA.

  3. I think there may be a problem with the maintenance of the MRT or the budget allocated for such maintenance.

  4. Aw I saw this news nga and grabe talaga. Sana hindi na mauilit pa.

  5. I just wish they allot a bigger budget for MRT and LRT so they can change the trains and maintain it properly.