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MRT-3 station / Wikipedia

MRT 3 passengers plummet 26% following Busan's exit

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The number of passengers served by Metro Rail Transit Line 3 along EDSA plummeted by 26 percent in 2018 after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) took over the operations of the line from the Busan Joint Venture, according to the Commission on Audit.

“The revenue operations of the MRT-3 system measured in terms of passenger ridership and ticket sales was at its lowest in CY 2018 with only an average of 13 out of the 24 train sets plying on the rail tracks, thereby heightening the discomfort of the riding public,” the Commission on Audit said in its 2018 audit report of the DOTr.

It said that train availability on MRT 3 went down to 13 in 2018 from 18 in 2017 and 16 in 2016.

“Furthermore, the 48 Dalian trains delivered in CY 2017 remained inoperable for an indefinite period despite the conduct of an Independent Safety Audit and Assessment by TUV Rheinland Philippines,” CoA said.

“Analysis of the four-year operations of the MRT-3 system showed a decline of 26 percent in the annual passenger ridership from the reported 140,152,161 in CY 2017 to 104,275,362 in CY 2018,” it said.

The commission said revenue collections from ticket sales subsequently dropped 26 percent to P2.068 billion in 2018 from P2.779 in 2017.

“These regressions are largely attributed to the decreased number of train sets plying on the rail tracks caused by the termination on November 03, 2017 of the maintenance service contract of Busan Joint Venture,” the commission said.

“It bears emphasis that the maintenance services of the MRT-3 system was taken over by the DOTr-MRT3 Maintenance Transition Team thereafter,” it said.

CoA noted that in the historical operations of MRT-3, the number of trains for revenue operations during peak hours is 20 and 15 train sets during off-peak.

“During CY 2018, only an average of 13 train sets were available for operations heightening the indignation of the riding public,” it said.

”The cases in point do not only deny the riding public of an efficient, effective and secured transportation systems but undoubtedly impacted on revenue collections, depriving the government of additional financial resources for payment of the MRT-3 equity rentals,” it said.

”The revenues derived from passenger fares are used to finance the payment of equity rental fees and staffing and administration costs, as specified in the Build- Lease-Transfer agreement entered into by then DOTC and the Metro Rail Transit Corp. on August 08, 1997 for a period of 25 years. Thus, the operation of the present MRT-3 system needs to be greatly improved to increase collections. Otherwise, it would adversely impact on the capacity of DOTr-MRT3 to self-finance the payment of its obligations to MRTC and would require a greater government subsidy,” CoA said.

The national government subsidizes the deficiencies in revenue collections through the “subsidy for mass transit account” in the General Appropriations Act.

CoA said that in 2018, the government subsidized 64 percent or P4.661 billion of the total equity rentals of P7.228 billion.

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