Binay urges transport operators to practice ‘passenger-first’ mentality

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Friday, August 15, 2014

SENATOR Nancy Binay filed Friday a Senate resolution urging the chamber to conduct an inquiry intending to promote a passenger-first mentality to public transport authorities and operators.

"The increasing number of incidents of train malfunction arising from inadequate maintenance of the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) is alarming, and endangers the lives of the commuting public," she said.

"It is important to look into this, given that the system carries more passengers than it was designed for," Binay added.

Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that the MRT carries 500,000 passengers per day when it was only designed to carry 350,000 passengers.

At least 38 people were injured when a defective MRT train slammed into a barrier at the Taft Avenue station Wednesday afternoon. The MRT said it is now investigating the incident to determine the reason/s behind the mishap.

Binay said that there are a number of reports saying that the MRT trains and railways are vulnerable to breakdown which causes injuries, delays and long lines due to inadequate preventive maintenance, absence of regular inspection, lack of spare parts replacement and readiness in times of accidents and risks.

The senator added that it is necessary for the Senate to look into the matter "to prevent future accidents and mishaps that may claim the lives of thousands of Filipino commuters and motorists".

"Ano ho ba ang protocol pagdating sa emergency situations, alam ba ito ng mga train operators? May backup system ba kung saka-sakaling mawalan ng kuryente? May sistema ho ba pagdating sa pagpila, lalo na patungkol sa mga kababaihan, bata, matanda at may kapansanan? Ang mga reports sabi kanya-kanya pagdating sa pagpasok at paglabas ng tren, ilan po ito sa mga tanong ng mga pasahero," Binay said.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is eyeing to complete the investigation on the train mishap by early next week.

Secretary Abaya said the fact-finding investigation into the MRT-3 accident is expected to submit its findings on August 19.

"In the meantime, we cannot speculate on the events that led to the unfortunate incident. We find it more prudent to await the results of the investigation instead of forming a mere opinion on whether it was a human error or a technical malfunction," he said.

The investigating committee is led by DOTC Undersecretary for Operations Edwin Lopez, with members from the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and the Office for Transportation Security (OTS). Its probe is separate from that being conducted by the Philippine National Police. (Camille P. Balagtas/Ruth Abbey Gita/SDR/Sunnex)

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