By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star | 01/02/2013 8:08 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is looking into the government of Spain’s offer to use second-hand trains to address the overcapacity of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) along EDSA.
DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in an interview with reporters that the government is studying Spain’s offer to sell their second-hand trains for MRT-3 while in the process of acquiring new light rail vehicles (LRVs).
“We are checking on both. We want to make sure that the second-hand trains will run in the existing rails. If we could use these trains, we can have added capacity,” Abaya stressed.
He pointed out that the offer is being studied carefully as the Government Procurement Law does not cover procurement of second-hand equipment or facilities.
“There are two questions in mind. Are we allowed to buy second-hand train cars and are the used coaches from Spain compatible with the specifications of the MRT-3,” he added.
MRT-3 services about 500,000 passengers daily, exceeding its rated capacity of about 350,000 passengers. It has a fleet of 73 Czech-made air-conditioned rail cars, of which 60 three-car trains operate daily while the others are undergoing maintenance.
The DOTC is in the midst of bidding out a contract for the acquisition of 26 LRVs for MRT-3 early this year as part of the purchase of 52 more LRVs worth P8.63 billion.
Last September, Malacanang and the board of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved the MRT-3 capacity expansion project involving the acquisition of additional LRVs.
The expansion would translate to a 60 to 70 percent increase in the capacity of the mass transit that traverses from Taft Ave. in Pasay City to North Ave. in Quezon City.
Abaya pointed out that the DOTC would bid out a contract for the operation and maintenance of MRT-3 once the interim contract awarded earlier expires after six months.
The DOTC awarded the contract for the maintenance of the MRT-3 to PH Trams-CB&T JV as Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) failed to bid out a new contract after the contract of Sumitomo expired. The interim maintenance provider of the MRT-3 is for six months while it conducts the procurement process for a regular maintenance provider for the train line.
The contract between MRTC and Japanese firm Sumitomo has been extended four times.
PH Trams-CB&T JV was awarded the contract as it offered the lowest monthly maintenance cost of $1.15 million compared to the proposals of Sumitomo TES-P Inc. and Miescor Railway/Genials JV.
Last month, Malacanang gave the green light to pursue the complete takeover of the MRT-3 along EDSA in a transaction worth close to $1 billion.