Two MRT-3 passengers injured: Human error or signaling problem?

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TWO INCIDENTS of passenger injuries were reported at the Metro Railway Transit (MRT)-3 yesterday morning due to problems in onboard signaling. Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Cesar B. Chavez told reporters in a message that MRT-3 control center staff informed him of a 30-year-old female who got “an abrasion on the right arm” and a 68-year-old male who had a “snap on the left rib.” The passengers sustained the minor injuries at the Shaw Boulevard station due to “ATP [automatic train protection] braking.” “ATP, also known as onboard signaling, belongs to [the] top three main causes of unloading incidents,” Mr. Chavez said in a message. BusinessWorld contacted the MRT management for comment, but has not received a reply as of reporting. Charles Perfecto A. Mercado, spokesperson of Busan Universal Rail, Inc., (BURI), the maintenance provider of MRT, said initial assessment indicates the incidents were due to human error. “…Our preliminary review shows that the Automatic Train Protection on the train worked, and stopped the train because the driver [drove at a speed of] at about 36 kph… the manual of operation indicated that the maximum should be 10-20 kph, so it’s a driver fault,” Mr. Mercado said. In an earlier message, BURI said the Department of Transportation (DoTr) “will issue the official incident report.”

Meanwhile, Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares yesterday called for an independent audit of the purchased China-made trains, which have been unusable due to incompatibility with existing facilities. During the Senate hearing on the Department of Transportation’s proposed P75.6-billion budget for 2018, Ms. Poe pressed officials to hire “an independent auditor that has no political affiliations” to check whether the 48 coaches supplied by Chinese firm Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. Ltd. are safe and can be utilized in the capacity-burdened MRT-3. The independent assessment, she pointed out, can be used by the government as supporting document should it be necessary to return the trains. Mr. Chavez said out of the P3.8-billion contract cost with Dalian Locomotive, P800 million has so far been paid by the government. — Patricia Paola C. Marcelo