MANILA — The LRT-2 partially resumed its operations with slower and fewer trains on Tuesday, 5 days after it shut down due to a fire, forcing tens of thousands of passengers to find alternative modes of transport.
An LRT-2 power rectifier along Katipunan Avenue burst into flames last Thursday, leaving a large hole in the rail tracks. The railway resumed partial operations at 6 a.m. in 8 of its 11 stations, from Recto, Manila to Cubao, Quezon City.
The power supply, however, was only enough to run 5 trains, down from the usual 9 to 10 trains that ferry 220,000 passengers daily, said LRT Authority Spokesperson Hernando Cabrera.
"Meron pa rin tayong issues sa ating power supply. 'Pag nagdagdag tayo ng beyond 5 [trains], maapektuhan na, mao-overload ang ating power supply, puwede na siyang magkadiperensya ulit, puwede siyang mag-trip," he told radio DZMM.
(We still have issues with our power supply. If we add beyond 5 trains, our power supply will be overloaded and may have a problem again, it may trip.)
Authorities, he said, also reduced the trains' speed to 40-50 kilometers per hour from the usual 60-80 kph, resulting in "10 minutes or more" interval between the arrival of trains.
It may take 9 months for full operations to resume in the 3 LRT stations hit worst by the fire, including those in Anonas, Katipunan and Santolan, which are all located near several universities, authorities earlier said.
To fast-track repairs, the LRTA is studying using the power rectifier of the railway's Masinag extension, instead of spare parts that still have to be imported from abroad, said Cabrera.
A full report on the extent of damage from the fire will be released later Tuesday, he said.
"Hopefully ma-reduce pa natin iyong (we can reduce) 9 months," said the official.
"Humihingi kami ng paumanhin sa nangyari noong mga several days. Patuloy pa rin po kaming humihingi ng pasensya, ng understanding po... Ang objective lang po natin ay maibalik na iyong ating serbisyo na ito po ay safe," he added.
(We are apologizing for what happened in the pas several days. We also continue asking for patience and understanding. Our only objective is to bring back our service and ensure that it will be safe for commuters.)
Scores of passengers around 6 a.m. waited for free bus rides from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, from Santolan to Cubao.
Several private buses were also parked in the area, waiting for special permits to ferry LRT passengers.
The LRT-2 shutdown came in the same week that Metro Manila's 2 other railways, the LRT-1 and MRT-3, experienced operational disruptions due to glitches.
With reports from Lyza Aquino and Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News