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With looming EDSA rehab, brace for more traffic in MRT3 means BUSINESS

MANILA - Expect queues at the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3) to get longer and passenger trains to become more congested with the planned rehabilitation of EDSA, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) warned on Tuesday.

"We have to await that rehab plan. But, as it is, we can't [accommodate the surge in MRT 3 passenger traffic]. It really depends on time frame and on depending on how many people really divert to train," DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.

He said EDSA's rehabilitation "should be supported and planned well, so that the inconvenience would be minimized."

In preparation for the surge in ridership, the government is acquiring trains from the Czech or Spanish governments to increase the capacity of MRT 3.

"There is talk of second hand trains from Spain. Finally, we got a reply from Spanish Embassy. The issue now is whether the train will run in our system," Abaya said, adding that the Procurement Law allows for the purchase of second-hand equipment.

He said the DOTC is also considering a proposal from the Czech Republic for the purchase of new trains through official development assistance (ODA).

MRT3, which runs from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City, serves nearly 500,000 passengers per day, or way beyond its rated capacity of about 350,000.

The rail system has a fleet of 73 Czech-made rail cars, of which up to 60 three-car trains operate daily.

The trains run at a maximum speed of 65 kilometers per hour to cover the rail system’s 13 stations in about 30 minutes, including short dwell times of about 25-35 seconds in each station.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is preparing for massive repair work at EDSA, which the agency said could take years.