MRT-3 resumes operations on limited capacity on Monday

The Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) will resume its operations on a limited capacity on Monday, July 13, after the line's management was able to gather a sufficient number of employees who tested negative for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said that a total of 1,093 depot personnel and 1,010 station personnel of the MRT-3 tested negative for the respiratory disease, as of Saturday, July 11.

These numbers, the DOTr added, exceeded the required 1,308 personnel to resume train operations on a limited number of train sets.

"On Monday, the MRT-3 will be dispatching 12 train sets, which will include 10 CKD train sets and two Dalian train sets. The first train set will be dispatched at 5:30 a.m. from the North Avenue station to the Taft Avenue station," the department said.

In addition, contact tracing will strictly be implemented with passengers to fill-up health declaration forms before boarding the train.

Operations of the MRT-3, one of the busiest railways in the metropolis, have been suspended since July 6 to give way to the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR testing of all its employees.

This was after 281 personnel of the MRT-3 contracted COVID-19 including depot and station staff, ticket sellers, employees of Sumitomo-MHI-TESP, its maintenance provider and its subcontractors, and other service providers. 

During the temporary shutdown, thorough disinfection of all MRT-3 facilities such as depot, stations, and trains, was conducted.

In line with the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), all depot and station personnel are now required to wear full personal protective equipment, including face masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves, to protect both passengers and employees.

All personnel have also been required to submit health declaration forms twice a day on top of the continuous health check and monitoring.

The MRT-3 also ramped up its health and safety measures by implementing the "five-minute disinfection hustle" on its trains every half loop or at the end stations at the North Avenue and Taft.

Meanwhile, the Bus Augmentation Program will continue to deploy 90 buses with a three-minute fixed dispatching interval and will return to its normal operating hours from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

At least 190 buses are also being deployed under the EDSA Busway Service to transport passengers between Monumento and the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange, while a mini loop will continue to run between Timog Avenue and Ortigas wherein shuttle services or mini buses will be allowed to pick up and drop off passengers at the curbside.