THE METRO Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) will run 10 kilometers per hour faster to 40 kph starting Oct. 1 after repairs made by Japanese contractors, according to the Transportation department.

“The operating speed will gradually increase from 40kph in October to 50kph by November and to 60kph by December,” the agency said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Our commuters have suffered enough from the past,” Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said in the statement. “It is only right that we give them back their dignity in commuting using the MRT-3.”

The operator fixed MRT-3 cars, air-conditioners, elevators and escalators in the past months, allowing the trains to run at a record speed last week, he said.

The government hired Sumitomo Corp., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, Ltd. and TES Philippines, Inc. to overhaul all the 72 light rail vehicles of the MRT-3.

The contractors also replaced tracks, fixed power and overhead catenary systems, upgraded signaling, communications and CCTV systems, and repaired all escalators and elevators.

MRT-3 ticket sales fell by 7.7% to P1.91 billion last year while ridership in the Baclaran-North Avenue line dropped by 7.1% to 96.93 million, the Department of Transportation said.

In 2017, ridership was 140.15 million, up 4.6%, while ticket sales hit P2.78 billion, 3.7% higher than a year earlier. — Arjay L. Balinbin