Nation

MRT-3 to reduce train ops as 92 more employees test positive for COVID-19

Photo courtesy: NCR PIO

The Metro Rail Transit 3 announced Thursday that it will reduce its capacity starting July 6 as 67 more of its employees tested positive for the Corona virus disease, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 92.

In a statement, MRT3 said the reduced capacity of operation includes a reduced number of trains.

Following the first batch of 25 cases last week, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) advised the Department of Transportation (DOTr-MRT3) and Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to conduct swab testing to all their personnel, leading to the identification of the additional 67 cases as of yesterday.

“Almost all of the positive cases (89 out of 92) are depot personnel of Sumitomo-MHI, with the remainder being depot personnel of MRT-3,” their statement reads.

The management of MRT-3, who has more than 1,700 depot personnel, has assured the public that all its station personnel remains COVID-19 free.

“Sumitomo requested to discuss on a day-by-day basis the level of operations that they can sustain as results of the mass swab testing continue to be released. In the meantime, Sumitomo advised that they are able to continue with operations to service MRT-3’s tens of thousands of passengers, although at a reduced level,” DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said.

Sumitomo’s Masanori Honda said they will try to keep the same maintenance performance through the week and will update the MRT3 management daily.

“We would like to discuss with DOTr MRT3 office day by day, how much maintenance level we would be able to keep, in view of the number of COVID-19 infected people,” Honda said.

MRT3 said it reached its highest ridership to date on Monday, 29 June amid general community quarantine, carrying 67,821 passengers at its reduced capacity of 13% (153 passengers per train, down from 1,182 pre-ECQ).

To augment MRT-3’s further reduced capacity due to the quarantine of some of its depot personnel, DOTr will be boosting its Bus Augmentation Program and EDSA Busway service, in coordination with the DOTr Road Sector, LTFRB, and MMDA.

Meanwhile, additional measures and precautions will be taken during MRT-3’s reduced operations, including requiring full PPE for stations and depot personnel, limiting movement of depot personnel to their immediate areas of responsibility, increased disinfection activities, and heightened monitoring and screening of symptoms among all personnel.

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