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MRT off track until Saturday




MRT-3 may resume trips by Sunday, 12 July. (Photo: DOTR-MRT3)

Rising number of coronavirus-infected personnel, including ticket agents, forced the five-day stoppage of Metro Rail Transit-3 operations beginning Tuesday, 7 July.

As resolved by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), there will be no MRT-3 trips until 11 July.

As of Monday, at least 180 are reported to have tested positive for Covid-19.

The temporary shutdown will allow for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR or swab) testing of all MRT-3 personnel, including those of its maintenance provider and subcontractors.

The RT-PCR testing will be done by the Philippine Coast Guard at the Palacio de Manila swabbing center, with assistance from the Philippine Red Cross.

The temporary shutdown may be shortened or extended, depending on the pace and results of the tests, according to MRT management. Operations will resume even if the number of available personnel can only operate a limited number of train sets.

Personnel that will test positive will be directed to government quarantine facilities while those who are confirmed negative will form part of the pool that will operate the system upon resumption of operations.

It will require at least 1,300 personnel to resume limited operations.

During the temporary shutdown, disinfection of all MRT-3 facilities will be conducted, including its depot, stations and trains.

To help ferry commuters, the MRT-3 bus augmentation program will continue with 90 buses and fixed dispatching interval of every three minutes.

In addition, 150 buses will be deployed for the EDSA Busway service, carrying passengers between Monumento and the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange.

A mini loop will also run between Timog Avenue in Quezon City and Ortigas Avenue to service passengers, where shuttle services and mini buses will be allowed to pick up and drop off passengers at the curbside.