Unavailability of adequate service level caused by the downtime of numerous trains in Manila’s Metro Rail Transit (MRT) System, specifically Line 3, on Thursday spawned a particularly stressful day for thousands upon thousands of commuters.
At rush hour, exceedingly long lines of passenger queues in almost all stations became the norm, and thousands failed to reach their destinations on time, with many others deciding to take alternative modes of meeting their appointments, accomplishing errands, and reporting for work.
The trains were few and slow in arriving at the stations, with the maximum cruising speed shaved by half in order not to put undue strain on the carriage systems and the rails in bad need of repairs and preventive maintenance.
The speed had been cut down from the average of 40 kilometers per hour to just 20 kph.
According to the MRT management, as many as 70 cars were in dire need of detailed inspection checks, after the breakage of a wheel axle on one of the cars Tuesday.
It was all that frustrated passengers could do in coping with the difficult situation. “We were aware that MRT has problems, but never did we begin to imagine it could be this worse,” said a woman in one of the long queues exceeding 100 meters leading up to the station.
In Filipino, Cesar Chavez, an undersecretary of the Department of Transportation, told journalists: “We seek understanding and apologize to the public in the middle of this crisis. According to Secretary Arthur Tugade, we would rather endure the curses and badmouthing by the public and other sectors rather than see our countrymen suffering the pain of hospital confinement or, worse, resting in peace in the cemetery.”
Chavez was alluding to the responsibility of the MRT operator to maintain the system in good running condition at all times.
“We cannot sacrifice safety,” Chavez underscored.
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