THE Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) launched a month-long free-ride offering on Monday with the goal of restoring confidence in the key commuter train line after an extensive overhaul.

“The deployment of trains with four cars each set helps augment the line’s capacity, as they can carry up to a total of 1,576 passengers per train set,” the Department of Transportation said in a statement.

“The 18-22 trains, including the four-car train sets, that the MRT-3 can now deploy during peak hours is a far cry from the previous 10-15 trains only that it could deploy before its massive rehabilitation,” it noted.

The department said the government wants to show off these developments to the commuting public by offering rides free of charge.

“The free-ride program of MRT-3 is launched with this objective of showcasing the improved services of the rail line, in order to gain back the public confidence in our mass transportation system,” it noted.

The program also aims to ease the financial burden on passengers amid rising prices of fuel and commodities, as well as the return to on-site work, the department added.

“The MRT-3 recorded the all-time lowest number of operational trains on May 24, 2015, when it was able to deploy only six running train sets on the main line due to poor maintenance of its previous provider,” it said.

“Today, passengers enjoy cooler, aside from faster, MRT-3 rides as all train cars have also been (equipped) with new and 100% functioning air conditioning units.” — Arjay L. Balinbin