New 'tap-and-go' ticketing system for MRT-LRT in 2015
MANILA, Philippines - The consortium of Ayala Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. bagged the contract for the P1.7 billion Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) "tap-and-go" ticketing system.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) awarded the automated fare collection system (AFCS) project to the AF Consortium of Ayala and MPIC on Thursday. This is the first public private partnership project awarded by the DOTC.
"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. The AFCS will provide passengers with more comfort, convenience, and efficiency in their daily commute, at no cost to government or to the passengers,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya said.
The AF Consortium outbid the SM group, which submitted the second highest bid for the project. The SM group had raised questions about the Ayala-MPIC consortium's bid.
The DOTC said the AF Consortium made the "most advantageous offer", proposing not only to undertake the modernization project, but also to make premium payments to government in the amount of P1,088,103,900. The SM Consortium submitted the second-best offer with P1,088,000,000.
The DOTC said this means the government can implement a common ticketing system for the MRT and LRT, and at the same time generating revenues for the government without passing the cost to passengers.
Under the concession agreement, the AFCS ticketing system will be implemented at the LRT and MRT by September 2015.
LRT and MRT users will soon be able to use a single, stored-value train ticket, similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus Card which also serves as a debit card. At present, there are different tickets used for the MRT and LRT.
The DOTC said the winning consortium will be able to expand its business beyond the LRT and MRT lines. This means, the AF Consortium will be able to promote the use of the smart card-based technology for buses, shopping malls and convenience stores.
"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, extending the rail lines of LRT-1 and LRT-2, and building a new one called MRT-7," Abaya said.
The DOTC is constructing a Common Station in the EDSA-North Avenue area to connect the LRT-1, MRT-3, and MRT-7 lines. It will also transfer the operations and maintenance of LRT-1 and LRT-2 to the private sector through the PPP program.