New maintenance contractor for MRT-3 eyed

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Sumitomo's contract as MRT maintenance contractor expires on October 19 and the DOTC is looking for a replacement

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is looking for a replacement for Sumitomo Corp. to maintain Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 3.

This after the DOTC decided not to renew Sumitomo’s contract, which expires on Friday, October 19.

In a meeting last October 3, MRT-3 general manager Al Vitangcol III informed the board directors of the Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) of the DOTC’s decision not to extend Sumitomo’s contract beyond October 19.

Vitangcol said the DOTC is also requesting that the MRTC appoint an interim maintenance provider within a period of two weeks.

“MRTC Board did not oppose the decision of DOTC not to extend the Sumitomo contract but, by a unanimous vote, declined the request of DOTC that MRTC handle the solicitation of the new interim maintenance provider,” the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) said in a disclosure to the local bourse on Wednesday, October 17. The company holds a substantial stake in MRTC.

The company said the responsibility of hiring a new maintenance provider was transferred to the DOTC on November 24, 2010.
MPIC said the MRTC has been requesting to handle the maintenance again, given its track record and experience in developing large-scale infrastructure projects and providing efficient service to the public.
“MRTC is not abdicating its responsibility to maintain MRT-3 but the DOTC left MRTC with no choice but to have DOTC take responsibility for the interim period. MRTC has advised DOTC that it is willing to resume the responsibility of maintaining the MRT-3 after the expiration of the DOTC’s interim maintenance contract  provided MRTC is given sufficient time to undertake a proper selection process,” it said.
The MRTC board agreed to extend all cooperation and assistance to the DOTC in appointing an interim maintenance provider for MRT-3, so that all the critical issues raised by Sumitomo will be addressed immediately.
These issues, which Sumitomo warned may result in serious accidents, include the shortage in spare parts for the Signaling System and the Automated Fare Collection System.
Sumitomo also cited the MRT-3’s over capacity, which remains a problem. The daily passengers have exceeded the design capacity of 540,000 per day, which may create unexpected and repeated breakdowns.
The MPIC stressed it will support ways to improve the quality of MRT-3 service to over 600,000 Metro Manila commuters who use it daily. –

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