Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What caused the MRT3 Derailment at Taft Station?

Last Aug 13, 2014 an incident that was waiting to happen happened. At around 3:30 p.m on a sunny afternoon, a runaway MRT train got off the train tracks on its way from Magallanes station to Taft Ave station. With it was a damaged EDSA post, 3 private cars at EDSA, 32 train passengers were hospitalized, and around 500 traumatized passengers. All in all was due to fact that MRT was poorly managed, more so maintained. So what happened exactly?

Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) 3, 73, and 8 had lost its motor traction (which usually happens...sign of BAD MAINTENANCE) from leaving the Magallanes station, which was elevated six times higher than its destination the Taft Ave station. So you can imagine a downward slope. What MRT management decided was to have the next 3 trains unload its passengers and rescue the stalled train who is just 50 meters away by coupling with it and pushing it. At first the coupling was a success and it was able to push the stalled trains but as physics worked the coupling snapped. It then pushed the no-power train to accelerate more than 20 kph (the slope did not help). Thus damages were attained. So what now?

As usual, people started pointing fingers and who better to blame than the two drivers that time, James Duque (stalled train) and Heigen Villacarlos (pusher train). MRT management (Abaya) blamed the two drivers for not following standards and not using the brakes. News flash, the brakes gave up and thus it will not work. And if you use your common sense, given the circumstance and condition of the train... there was no way brakes could have done the job. Is there more to the story? Of course there is. Common sense also dictates that pushing a train is not SAFE. Pushing a loaded train with passengers is not SAFE. Pushing a loaded train with passengers using a LIGHT and empty train is not SANE. What the scenario should have been was Global-APT (MRT maintenance provider) should have used a TOW TRAIN to move the stalled train to safety and it should have unloaded the passengers...they could have walked to the nearest station. So what/who is the real culprit?

It boils down to poor maintenance of the MRT3 which is managed DOTC/Abaya/government. Remember my prior post about Vitangcol's scandal for setting up the MRT bidding to its own preferred supplier? That was the case here too. The maintenance of MRT was "bidded" out to Global APT. Time and time again, we see government agencies abusing private sectors. Before Metro Pacific offered DOTC to purchase new trains at no cost to them. But to my surprise DOTC declined this generous offer and gave it to a chinese contractor. Why? My hint is kickback. You can read more on this in my prior post about the government wanting to buyout MRT. What Metro Pacific was proposing at that time made lost of sense, the "savings" that the government is holding onto is nothing when you look at the equipment damages being incurred and the endangerment of the passengers. Metro Pacific thought to increase the public fares of MRT in balancing out the costs incurred with the new trains. THIS MADE PERFECT SENSE. And people time and time again mentioned during surveys that they are willing to pay more for better service. But Abaya did not heed, instead went about his "planned" ways..."to hell with the common filipino". Abaya actually even said "Riding is a personal decision. I won't go of my way to convince peope to ride the MRT." The cockiness and pride of this person is just too much. He belittles people since he thinks WE want to ride the train. 

Sadly we commuters are at the mercy of these people. That is why we should vote wisely. A little bribe money does not compensate for all the hardships you will endure as a consequence of your bribed vote. We are a nation. We are the makers and destroyers of our country. Do good and multiply. Do not allow a bad deed (throwing of trash anywhere) in your area of responsibility. We are all accountable for our country. Correct and punish all those who deserve to.