MRT-3 trains now running at normal speed

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 16) — Commuter woes were slightly eased Friday as the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) resumes "close to normal" operations after a systems check on its trains.

The trains resumed speed at 40 kilometers per hour (kph) from 20 kph, Transportation Undersecretary for Rails Cesar Chavez said.

From Wednesday afternoon until late Thursday, only 15 trains operated at a reduced speed, displacing 80 percent of commuters.

Eighteen trains were operating as of 9 a.m., but still fewer than the usual 20 trains during normal operation.

Chavez said passengers need to wait only four minutes for the next train to arrive.

Lines at train stations during the morning rush hour were still long, but noticeably shorter than the past days.

The problem surfaced on Tuesday, when a driver reported a strange sound and excessive swaying of one of the trains. Authorities said it was the first time this happened.

The management discovered a faulty axle, a metal rod connecting the wheels of the bogie, or the frame underneath the coaches.

By Wednesday afternoon, the management lessened the number of operating trains to  make sure there were no cracks or broken axles.

This continued until Thursday, with the train system servicing only 8,000 passengers per hour per direction on peak hours, down from its usual 48,000, Chavez earlier told CNN Philippines.

The systems check was expected to be finished by the weekend, but authorities said it went faster than expected.

Buses from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board are still on standby for train commuters. They serve as point to point transit for passengers, stopping at MRT stations and charging the same rate as the MRT.

The 18-year old MRT-3 suffered several glitches at the rate of 34 per month this year, down from 36 per month in 2016.

This is a developing story. Please refresh page for updates.

CNN Philippines' Cecille Lardizabal and Camille Abadicio contributed to this report.