Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to take immediate action based on the findings and recommendations of the independent auditor, expected to be released later this week, as to whether the controversial Dalian trains are suitable for use on the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) rail line.
“Two years have passed since the Dalian trains arrived, and yet their fate remains in limbo. I urge DOTr and the MRT-3 management to act on the recommendations of the audit as soon as they are released, so that we can bring the suffering of MRT-3 commuters to an end,” he said.
In the event that the 48 Light Rail Vehicles (LRV), procured for P3.8 billion from Chinese supplier CRRC Dalian Co., are assessed as unworthy for use on the MRT-3 line, Gatchalian said that the DOTr should return the units and demand for a total refund.
“It’s a question of suitability. If it is found that these trains aren’t right for the system, the government needs to get our money back. We cannot rely on trains that don’t match the specifications agreed on by the parties in the first place,” the senator stressed.
In January 2018 the DOTr and the MRT-3 management tapped the German firm TUV Rheinland to be the Independent Audit and Assessment (IAA) Consultant that will evaluate and submit recommendations on issues concerning the unused LRVs. The report on their assessments are expected to be released on Saturday, March 10.
The DOTr said the Dalian trains weigh 49.7 metric tons, which exceeds the maximum allowable weight of 46.4 metric tons found in the contract, making them unsafe to use on the exisiting MRT-3 rails. The transportation agency also claimed issues in the compatibility of the LRVs with MRT-3’s maintenance facilities and signaling system.
“The constant ailments of the MRT-3 have left it on life support. The usual medicine won’t be enough to save it. It needs a life-saving treatment. Hopefully, the independent audit will give the government the information it needs to make the right diagnosis and, ultimately, revitalize its operations for the benefit of the commuting public,” Gatchalian said.