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MRT3 nearing maximum capacity

The Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) system is now nearing its maximum capacity of 20 trains simultaneously running after its maintenance provider restored 20 cars in the last nine months.

In a statement, maintenance provider Busan Universal Rail, Inc. said the restoration of these cars added to the number of operating cars that allowed the MRT system to run as many as 18 trains on peak hours, close to the system’s maximum capacity of 20 trains.

Additional trains are also in reserve. Each train consists of three cars.

“Based on our latest projection, we intend to put into maximum operations within the month, 65 to 66 cars or 22 trains which could assure 20 operational trains on peak hours,” according to Charles Perfecto Mercado, spokesman and legal counsel of the maintenance provider.

Busan has announced that 4 cars are now undergoing major restoration and overhaul.

“As per our contract, we are scheduled to do major overhaul and restoration of 43 cars. So far we are about to finish at least 4 cars and these works are being implemented simultaneously with the restoration of other cars,” he added.

However, that repair process is restricted by the limited staging areas where works can be done as the MRT depot has only two tracks.

“This is part of the challenge but we’re able to maximize our works given the situation and limited spaces,” the spokesman noted.

He assured the riding public of Busan’s commitment to continue to outperform its contract obligations with the Department of Transportation, vowing to minimize train stoppage and breakdowns.

And while restoration and overhauls are being done, trains may still occasionally stall due to breakdowns attributed to overcapacity, aging cars, Mercado explained.

This, was typically part of the operation of any aging transportation fleet, and not a failure in maintenance. MRT3 serves more than 650,000 passengers daily, which is over its rated capacity of 350,000 while the existing trains have been in operations for the past so many years.

“Although the disruption in train travel last only a few minutes now, this is still not an excuse,” Mercado pointed out.

Busan Universal said that it was constantly looking at ways to modernize the system and to increase the comfort, safety of passengers and smoothness of travel.