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DOTr says railway lines ready to extend ops amid transport strike

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said that railway lines are prepared to extend their operations on Monday to assist commuters amid the transport strike.

According to DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez, the Philippine National Railways (PNR), the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT3), and the Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2 (LRT1 and LRT2) are set to add more trips on Monday to mitigate the effects of the transport strike on the public.

“The PNR has now 14 trainsets from seven in August 2022. With the transport strike it will extend its operation by adding 14 trips today, March 6, making the total trips to 60 from 46,” Chavez said in a press release.

He noted that the PNR would also add one trip from Tutuban Station and extend its trip leaving at 8:46 p.m. instead of 7:46 p.m.

Further, Chavez said the MRT3 is also ready to extend its operation for the last trip from North Avenue Station to 10:00 p.m. from 9:30 p.m., as well as from Taft Avenue Station to 10:41 p.m. instead of 10:00 p.m.

Chavez also said the Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC) has guaranteed its service and manpower for the LRT1 amid the strike. Meanwhile, the LRT2’s regular trip from Antipolo Station is also willing to extend its last trip to 10:00 p.m., he added.

The week-long transport strike pushed through despite President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s remark last week that the government would talk with transport groups to discuss the PUV modernization program.

The PUV modernization program aims to replace traditional jeepneys with vehicles powered by more environment-friendly fuels. Operators and drivers can apply for new franchises, but as part of transport cooperatives.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has extended the June 30 deadline for jeepney operators to form cooperatives to December 31, 2023.

Transport group PISTON has urged Marcos to suspend the implementation of the guidelines for the PUV modernization program, saying that the latter was a “bogus” modernization because it does not serve drivers, operators and the economy. —Anna Felicia Bajo/KG, GMA Integrated News