Fewer MRT-3 trains starting July 6 as 127 depot personnel catch coronavirus

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(FILE PHOTO)

CNN Philippines (Metro Manila, July 2) — MRT-3 said Thursday it will deploy fewer trains beginning Monday, July 6, as more depot workers tested positive for coronavirus.

The number of trains could be reduced to between 10 and 12 trains, from 16 to 19, although this is not yet final, Department of Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said in a briefing.

The number of trains that will run next week would be based on the number of maintenance workers who could render services next week, he added.

The official added they were working with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to increase the number of augmentation buses in service so passengers won't be too inconvenienced.

Batan also said there are no plans to shut down MRT-3 operations, although they continue to monitor the situation. However, there would be a temporary halt to train service on some weekends because of rail replacement activities.

The suspended weekend operations will cover the following dates: July 4-5, August 8-9, August 21-23, and September 12-13.

MRT-3 logged 127 COVID-19 infections, Batan reported. Of the number, 124 are depot personnel of the rail line's maintenance provider while three are MRT-3 railway workers.

A mass swab testing identified the number of cases, Batan said, adding that the infected individuals have been quarantined.

It was also emphasized that the depot employees had no interactions with passengers.

MRT-3 is already operating with only 13 percent of its capacity due to the physical-distancing rule aimed at limiting both the staff and passenger's risk of exposure to COVID-19 and curbing the spread of the viral disease.