DESPITE 3,265 glitches that beset its maintenance provider, the Metro Rail Transit Corp. still paid the Busan Rail Inc. (BURI) in 2016, according to IBON Foundation Inc.
“The government’s assurance of private profits from day one has led to the MRT 3 woes that has put commuter welfare on the line,” the research group said.
“The latest series of train breakdowns and mishaps is but the tip of the iceberg and will persist under a privatized light rail system. By assuring corporate profits, the government has neglected to ensure efficient and affordable public transport,” it added.
The government still paid some private firms with public funds despite its failure to deliver effective maintenance services.
Citing a Commission on Audit report, IBON said the government paid P54.5-million monthly maintenance fee to BURI in 2016.
That same year, the MRT 3 experienced 2,619 incidents of trains being pulled out from their daily run, 63 service interruptions and 586 incidents of passenger unloading, or an increase of 20 percent, 26 percent and 164 percent respectively, compared to 2014.
“BURI also failed to overhaul old light rail vehicles [LRVs] and replace the signaling system,” the group said.
Moreover, the Department of Transportation also paid P527.76 million to Chinese corporation Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. Ltd for useless LRVs that are incompatible with the power supply and signaling system of the MRT 3.
“Yet the public still pays despite such poor service,” the foundation said.
Since 2000, the government reported that it paid P610 million monthly as rental fees to the MRTC, the private owner of the MRT 3.