MRTH: New coaches a danger to the public

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Robert Sobrepeña, chairman of MRT Holdings, Inc., mother company of MRT's private owner, claims that the Chinese firm supplying the new coaches has no track record of building a similar train type, making it a "guinea pig." "I wouldn't ride it," he said.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A better Metro Rail Transit (MRT) system in the coming months is guaranteed by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to commuters with the arrival of new coaches.

But if you ask the MRT Holdings, Inc. (MRTH), mother company of the MRT Corporation, private owner of the MRT, it wouldn't recommend taking the new train for safety reasons.

"We feel this is a danger to the riding public. Not to mention a danger to the system itself. It might destroy the MRT system itself, that we own," MRTH Chairman Robert Sobrepeña said.

Also read: 'We will work towards a reduction in MRT glitches' — DOTC Sec. Abaya

MRTH claims that Chinese firm Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co., Ltd., which is supplying the new coaches, has no track record of building a similar train type.

"That means this is a guinea pig that we are testing... I wouldn't ride it. I wouldn't risk my life on an LRV (light rail vehicle) manufactured by a company that's never made such an LRV," Sobrepeña said.

 

Test runs not met

The new units will operate in two months, but the company said these aren't ready because of incomplete tests.

MRTH said the prototype and new coaches were required to undergo a 5,000-kilometer test run in China before their shipment to the country, but these were not met.

Related: Chinese engineers assemble new MRT prototype

It also questioned the three-year maintenance contract awarded to the Busan consortium, composed of Busan Transportation Corporation, Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile, Inc., TMICorp Inc., and Castan Corporation.

It said that the consortium's Filipino partners are not into mass transportation.

But Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya disputed the claims. "Nanghuhula lang sila. Galing sa ere yan," he said.

[Translation: They're just making guesses out of air.]

Abaya said that MRTH has no right to give an opinion as it has long abandoned its obligations with the MRT.

Related: DOTC to MRT private owner: Drop case vs. new train cars