Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya claimed to have enjoyed a “pleasant” ride at the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT 3) yesterday afternoon, contrary to commuter complaints on the transportation facility’s overcrowding and inefficiency. Abaya rode the MRT 3 from Ortigas to North Avenue station at about 1 p.m. Thursday together with MRT 3 officer-in-charge Honorito Chaneco after a meeting at the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) headquarters in Mandaluyong City. Abaya alighted at the North Avenue station but went down and walked along the northernmost portion of the MRT 3 tracks to inspect—amid a light drizzle—the reversing track and the connecting track for MRT 3 and Light Rail Transit (LRT 1). The transportation official made true his promise to ride the MRT 3 to pacify commuters’ reservations on the mass transit system’s safety since its worst accident happened last August 13, when at least 36 passengers were hurt after a de-energized train overshot its tracks and rammed the steel fence of the southern most station in Taft Avenue. Abaya clarified that yesterday’s MRT 3 ride was not his first, having ridden the rail line before assuming his current post back in October 2012. “It was a pleasant ride,” he told reporters after the making a random inspection of the MRT 3 underground depot following the unannounced ride. “There was no problem in queuing in line to get the ticket. I was looking forward to it and enjoyed the ride. Riding the MRT 3 is still the most efficient way to go around EDSA,” he added. Abaya walked past the long lines of commuters queuing to enter the North Avenue station. After news of his MRT 3 ride broke in social media, netizens dared him to ride the MRT 3 during peak hours when it is most challenging to ride the perennially overcrowded transportation system. “Commuters have all the rights to complain, to be impatient and to demand better service but government is working on it. Hindi kami nagpapabaya,” he said. “We are doing our best to render efficient, comfortable, and reasonably priced public transportation for our people. Some of these upgrades on the MRT 3 should have been done years ago. At least now, we are showing political will to undertake upgrades, this despite threats of restraining orders and cases,” he said. Abaya added that government is continuously investing in upgrading the MRT 3 through the recent procurement of 48 brand new coaches to add to the existing fleet, bidding of a new and longer maintenance contract as well as various rehabilitation program for the old trains and worn out rails.
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