The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) awarded on Thursday to the joint venture of the Ayala and Metro Pacific groups the P1.72-billion Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS) Project for Metro Manila’s light rail system.
“We are pleased to announce that a modern ticketing system is on its way for our train riders. This is part of the DOTC’s effort to improve our services at the LRT and the MRT,” said Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya.
He added that, “The AFCS will provide passengers with more comfort, convenience and efficiency in their daily commute, at no cost to government or to the passengers.”
The AF Consortium of the Ayala Group and Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) submitted a negative bid of P1.088 billion for the AFCS, besting by P103,900 the bid submitted by the SM Consortium of Henry Sy.
A negative bid means that the bidder is proposing to pay the government to undertake the project.
The AFCS, a tap-and-go ticketing scheme for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) systems, is envisioned to improve passenger comfort and convenience by cutting queuing time and allowing seamless transfers from one rail line to another.
The AF Consortium was awarded the concession after having made the most advantageous offer to the transport agency. It proposed not only to undertake the modernization project, but also to make premium payments to government in the amount of P1.088 billion.
As a result, the DOTC will be able to implement a common ticketing system and generate revenues for government at the same time, without passing any cost on to LRT and MRT passengers.
This was made possible by the way the transport department structured the project, which allows the winning concessionaire to expand its business beyond the LRT and MRT lines.
Thus, the AF Consortium will be able to promote the use of the smart card-based technology to other transport modes such as buses, as well as to retail outlets such as mall and convenience stores, among others.
Under the concession agreement, the AFCS ticketing scheme will be fully integrated at the LRT and MRT systems by September 2015.
“This shift to a modern fare collection system is only the beginning of several rail improvement projects in our pipeline. We are increasing the capacity of MRT-3 and buying out its private owner,” Abaya said.
In addition to these projects, the DOTC will also construct a Common Station at the EDSA-North Avenue area to connect the LRT-1, MRT-3, and the future MRT-7 line. It will also transfer the operations and maintenance of LRT-1 and LRT-2 to the private sector in order to improve services for the public.
As for the MRT-3 buyout, government has begun the process to acquire the urban railway’s facilities and to end government’s obligation to pay exorbitant rental fees to the private owner until the next decade.