Two days before Christmas and with thousands of Metro Manila denizens on vacation outside the metropolis, MRT riders experience a rare comfortable ride to their destinations on Tuesday, December 23. Malacañang on Monday stood firm on the government’s decision to raise fares of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) amid calls from some senators to defer the fare hike scheduled on January 4, 2015.(MNS photo)

Two days before Christmas and with thousands of Metro Manila denizens on vacation outside the metropolis, MRT riders experience a rare comfortable ride to their destinations on Tuesday, December 23. Malacañang on Monday stood firm on the government’s decision to raise fares of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) amid calls from some senators to defer the fare hike scheduled on January 4, 2015.(MNS photo)

MANILA, Mar 4 (Mabuhay) – The Metro Rail Transit (MRT) has replaced 150 meters of rail tracks but will need to replace at least 6,000 meters more, MRT General Manager Roman Buenafe said Wednesday.

Buenafe said the shortened operating hours over the weekend allowed the MRT to replace 150 meters of tracks.

He said the next stage is to replace another 190 meters of rail tracks but said pre-welding work for the replacement has not been finished. This means there will be no shortened MRT schedule for the weekend.

There is a pre-welding process so hindi aabot sa weekend…Tuloy tuloy ang operation. Walang isasara ngayong weekend,” he said.

Buenafe said the MRT is targeting to replace 6,000 meters of rail tracks of the entire 16.9-km MRT line.

6,000 meters ang di magandang condition na riles. We have ordered 7,000 meters of rails that will arrive May-June,” he said.

The MRT official said he wants the entire track replaced but admitted there are budgetary constraints. He said he is recommending that the recent fare increase be used for the rail replacements and upgrade of the MRT trains.

He also said at least 15 MRT trains are now running daily, from a low of 9 trains last month.

Nagkagulo lahat nung we had 9 trains lang. We were able to raise it to 14. Last week, we had 15 to 16. This week, we have 16,” he said.

He said several trains are undergoing a six-month overhauling process.

Sen. Grace Poe earlier asked Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to submit a progress report on committed deliverables to upgrade and rehabilitate the MRT in the wake of repeated system malfunctions harassing commuters amid the scourge of higher fares.

Abaya has presented before the Senate public services subcommittee its list of deliverables for the MRT-3 rehabilitation including rail replacement and signaling system upgrade estimated to be finished by September 2015.

The general train overhaul is expected to be completed by June 2017, at a cost of P1.15 billion. (MNS)