MRT3’s operating hours to be extended

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

OPERATING hours of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 will be extended starting next week to give the public another option to beat traffic, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said Thursday.

The longer hours of service will be tested for one month beginning February 24 to determine whether it will be viable in the long run, said DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal.

"This is part of our program to mitigate the traffic situation. Based on the test run, we will monitor how much passengers are willing to alter their riding habits by commuting earlier in the morning or later in the evening. We will also see whether this will encourage motorists to take the train instead of their cars," he said.

Currently, the rail system's regular hours of operation are from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. For the first two work weeks, or from February 24 until March 7, the MRT3 Office will start operations at 4:30 a.m. from the North Avenue station and 5 a.m. from the Taft Avenue station.

From March 10 to 21, it will also extend the evening runs up to 10:30 p.m. from the North Avenue station and 11 p.m. from the Taft Avenue station, in addition to the earlier opening hours.

After the four-week testing period, the MRT3 Office will make its recommendation to the DOTC on whether the extended operating hours may be regularized, based on its impact on commuters, daily train maintenance requirements, and the additional cost of operation.

"Our limitations are on maintenance and costs. For maintenance, the coaches have to be checked every night to ensure safety. It seems that we will be able to shorten the turnover process without compromising actual maintenance hours. As for costs, the testing period will allow us to project how much more we need to spend to make it sustainable over time," Sagcal said.

"As always, we are looking for ways to serve the public better. We want to deliver convenient, efficient, and safe transportation options, especially with government’s push to improve infrastructure over the next few years," he added.

The DOTC has previously announced that the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will begin its Special Coach service to ply the Tutuban to Sta. Rosa route as another mitigating step to help ease traffic. Together with the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), it is now also finalizing options through which LRT Lines 1 and 2 can accommodate more travelers who will be affected by the various construction works in Metro Manila. (SDR/Sunnex)

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