• DOTC seeks bidders for MRT3 upgrade

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    The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said it is looking for bidders for the upgrade of MRT-3’s ancillary systems as it strives to increase its passenger capacity.

    In the Invitation to Bid published Wednesday, the DOTC disclosed that the approved budget for the contract amounts to P836.46 million. A pre-bid conference for interested bidders is scheduled for May 28, which is also the day when bid documents will be issued.

    The ancillary systems include the rail line’s traction sub-power station and its depot facilities, as well as the construction of the North Avenue turnback and the Taft Avenue pocket track extension.

    “As we increase MRT-3’s capacity in order to improve its facilities and provide better services to more passengers, we need to upgrade its ancillary systems as well,” DOTC Secretary Emilio Joseph Abaya said in a statement.

    “With our policy of open and transparent bidding, we know that competition will lead to a more advantageous deal, and therefore, more savings for government,” he added.

    Earlier this year, the DOTC signed the contract for Lot 1 of the Capacity Expansion project, which involves the purchase of 48 new train coaches for the MRT-3 system.

    DOTC said that these additional coaches, which will decongest the over-capacity operations of the railway, will be delivered in monthly tranches beginning next year. Although the deadline for completion is scheduled in 2017, the winning supplier has committed to deliver all 48 new units by mid-2016.

    The DOTC also signed the contract for the new, unified contactless ticketing system for MRT-3 and Lines 1 and 2 of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system last March. This tap-and-go smartcard technology is designed to cut queuing time for passengers and allow seamless transfers from one line to another. It is scheduled to be fully operational by September 2015.

    “While our long-term upgrades are still on the way, we are also looking for quick improvements in the meantime. We have already extended operating hours in the morning, and are now experimenting with the viability of an Express Train service,” added Abaya.

    The MRT-3’s morning and evening operations were extended on a trial basis last February and March. The start of operations at 4:30 a.m., one hour earlier than the previous regular runs, has since been made permanent.

    Meanwhile, the Express Train service experiment will be concluded this week, with the MRT-3 Office expected to submit its recommendations to the DOTC next week.

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