THE Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) is suspending operations in two stations of the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) until mid-2020 after a fire damaged a portion of the railway on Thursday. It said it will take nine months to repair the damaged stations.
After suspending operations on Oct. 3, the LRT-2 is targeted to reopen for “partial operability” by Monday or Tuesday, LRTA Spokesperson Hernando Cabrera said in a phone call Friday. He noted, however, that the reopening will be limited to the stations from Recto to Cubao, and “in a couple of days,” the Anonas station.
The last two stations, namely Katipunan and Santolan, will take at least nine more months of work to repair, Mr. Cabrera said
“’Yung full line operations, meaning Recto to Santolan, mga nine months pa ’yung timetable natin. Ibig sabihin, ’yung Katipunan to Santolan, wala pang operations for the next nine months doon,” he said. (The full line operations, meaning from Recto Station to Santolan Station, our timetable is nine months. Meaning there will be no operations from Katipunan to Santolan for the next nine months.)
Mr. Cabrera said the LRTA is asking for at least P430 million from the government to fix the damaged system, which will cover tapping a contractor and acquiring spare parts to replace the affected parts and bring LRT-2 to full operability by June.
“We have already initiated the emergency procurement procedure… ’Yung replacement and repair ng lahat ng mga nasira (for the replacement and repair of everything that was damaged), we’re looking at around P430 million, minimum,” he said.
He explained the nine-month timetable for the repair is because the parts would have to be sourced abroad, and it may take time before these may be delivered to the Philippines to begin replacement of the damaged sections. But he said if resources could be provided sooner, the time needed for the repairs may be cut.
The LRTA is yet to complete its investigation into the cause of fire that hit the train line on Thursday. In a statement, it said it has commissioned engineers from the United States who were part of the design and installation of the LRT-2 substations to help in the process.
Until it completes both investigation and repair, the LRT-2 operator is providing additional buses from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Philippine Coast Guard for passengers from Katipunan to Santolan during peak hours. It is also coordinating with regulators to allow buses and SUVs to serve routes outside its stations to assist affected passengers. — Denise A. Valdez