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Tugade to MRT: File charges against unruly passengers

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By Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo, Reporter

DEPARTMENT of Transportation (DoTr) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade has ordered the Metro Rail (MRT)-3 management to file cases against passengers who “disrupt train operations” by leaning on or forcibly opening train doors.

The DoTr said in a statement that Mr. Tugade, in a speech before business groups and investors at the Philippine Economic Briefing in Clark, Pampanga, on Apr. 13, instructed the MRT-3 management to file charges and collect damages against passengers who “cause public inconvenience.” Mr. Tugade also directed the management to identify the passenger that caused an unloading incident by leaning on or forcibly opening the train door.

“From now on, lahat ng mahuhuling sumasandal o nagpipilit magbukas ng pinto ng tren kahit sarado na, kasuhan! I told MRT to file cases and collect damages from them. Maraming naaabala dahil sa kawalan ng disiplina,” Mr. Tugade said during the event in Pampanga.

Approximately 1,000 passengers were unloaded at around 8:00 a.m. at Santolan-Annapolis Station last Friday, Apr. 13, due to door failure. DoTr said this was the first unloading incident recorded at the MRT-3 since Apr. 2.

“For the last 11 days, there was no unloading, it was smooth. Today, we have the first unloading. Do you know the cause? There was someone who put pressure on the door. Pinilit na pumasok habang sarado na. It’s not about parts, it’s about this passenger. My instruction, identify this person,” Mr. Tugade said.

MRT media relations officer Aly Narvaez cited Director for Operations Michael Capati as saying that more closed-circuit television cameras will be set up at the stations “to augment visibility and identify issues and violators.”

This order by Mr. Tugade has prompted criticism on social media.

The DoTr deployed 15 trains on April 2, the first additional deployment since Jan. 5. Around 11-16 trains have since been deployed this month.

The department said it aims for a 20-car configuration, although this will depend on the outcome of the audit on the trains purchased from Dalian Locomotive.

The DoTr said last month that the audit by TÜV Rheinland is “substantially completed, but not yet concluded.” The firm was awarded the DoTr the contract to audit the system.

The government last year took over the train system’s maintenance after it terminated in November last year its contract with Busan Universal Rail Inc., claiming Busan’s failure to ensure efficient and available trains and procure proper spare parts.

BURI said in a statement that since the contract was terminated, the DoTr inherited a total of 21 running trains ready for revenue service.