Passengers walk from Ayala to Buendia stations after MRT train detaches

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 16) —  Commuters have been accustomed to Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) glitches every now and then - but not from trains detaching from each other.

A link between two MRT coaches broke during the Thursday morning rush hour - first day of work after the long ASEAN holidays. The northbound train was from the Ayala Station, headed one stop away to Buendia station.

"Around 130 to 140 passengers were evacuated by the combined security guards from Buendia and Ayala Station," Transportation Undersecretary for Rails Cesar Chavez said

The passengers who were evacuated were guided back to the Ayala Station platform in less than 10 minutes by walking on the tracks, officials said. No one was reported injured, Chavez added.

A passenger posted a photo of the detached coach on Facebook, leaving him and other passengers stranded.

The train failure in the Buendia-Ayala stations was the second MRT-3 glitch, coming minutes after passengers were asked to step off a Quezon Avenue southbound train at 8:57 a.m. due to a technical problem.

The MRT-3 confirmed this on its website at 9;03 a.m., saying "Provisional service was implemented due to train failure in Buendia - Ayala Avenue northbound. "

Provisional service means that the trains do not operate in between the affected stations. In this case, the MRT-3 operated only to and from North Avenue station in Quezon City to Shaw station in Mandaluyong, Chavez said.

The provisional service was lifted at 9:30 a.m. and trains resumed normal operations, Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez said.

It was high time for the Transportation Department to disclose to the public if the MRT was indeed safe or not, said Senator Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate Public Services Committee, said

"Umpisa pa lamang ito kaya nakita na natin ang pagkakamali ng nakaraang administrasyon," Poe said in an interview on Thursday. "Kasi kami dito sa legislation, nakikita natin yung problema pero sila ang may technicality dapat na ayusin na, magdesisyon na sila. Ito ba'y talagang ligtas o hindi," she added.

[Translation: We're now seeing the lapses of the past administration. We, in the legislative, can see the problems but they are the ones who knows the technicalities. Is this really safe, or not?]

Poe said transport officials should decide whether or not they need to stop MRT operations in order to fix its chronic problems.

"Magagalit ang taumbayan kasi marami talaga ang mahihirapan na walang MRT, pero ang importante ay ligtas sila; so kailangang mag-desisyon ang DOTr," Poe said.

"Ilabas na ninyo ang plano ninyo kung gaano katagal ang rehabilitasyon ng mga tren. Ano ang gagawin niyo? Mayroon ba kayong point-to-point buses na idadagdag, at bibigyan ba ninyo ng kompensasyon na libre ang ating mga pamasahe sa mga panahon na walang pagtakbo ang MRT?"

[Translation: The people will get mad since a lot of them use the MRT. But what matters are the people's safety. Tell us what you plan to do. How long will the rehabilitation take? Are you going to deploy more point-to-point buses? Will you give free rides during the days the MRT is not working?]

 

The glitches come two days after an accident in the Ayala station where a woman who felt dizzy fell onto the tracks and her right arm was severed, prompting another debate on the MRT-3's safety. She is in stable condition.

READ: MRT commuter's arm reattached following accident