LRT-2 hopes to restore full operations in 2-3 months

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 12) — Instead of nine months, the Light Rail Transit 2 (LRT-2) may be back to normal operations in two to three months, the train management said Saturday.

That is if the ongoing assessment would allow authorities to replace problem components instead of buying new power supply transformers.

Results will be out by Monday or Tuesday, Light Rail Transit Authority spokesperson Hernando Cabrera told CNN Philippines.

"Based on the latest findings from our technical personnel, if we are going to do a component by component replacement instead of doing a full unit replacement, we might be able to bring down the time table to around two to three months only," Cabrera said.

"We hope that after completing the assessment we can really establish that instead of buying a new unit we will just merely do a component by component repair and replacement," he added.

Three stations of the LRT-2 – Santolan, Katipunan, and Anonas – remain closed since the October 3 fire that damaged power supply transformers and some railway tracks. Partial operations resumed on October 8, but only five out of 10 trains have been running.

Cabrera said they are working on having an additional train running soon.

He also announced on Saturday that the LRT-2 operations will start an hour earlier or at 5 a.m. starting Monday. Prior to the fire, LRT-2 opened at 4:30 a.m.

The LRT-2, which normally accommodates an average of 200,000 passengers daily through its 11 stations, runs from Santolan Station in Pasig to Recto Avenue in Manila. The breakdown prompted groups to call the situation a "mass transport crisis", although government officials refused to call it as such.

Marikina residents have complained that their commute to work has since taken four hours, instead of just one when the LRT-2 was fully operational. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo himself had a nearly four-hour commute from Marikina to Malacañang in Manila after he accepted the challenge of taking public transport to work.