48 new MRT-3 coaches to improve service

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The P3.8 billion contract is for the supply of 48 new MRT-3 trains to increase train arrivals every 2.5 minutes

A Metro Rail Transit (MRT) train is seen Manila on October 31, 2010. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS

MANILA, Philippines – The bidding for the P3.8 billion contract for the supply of 48 new light rail vehicles for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) has been scheduled for March.

The government published an invitation to bid on Friday, February 22, setting the pre-bid conference on March 7. Interested bidders have up to March 22 to submit their proposals.

The new train coaches are expected to improve the service to and provide comfort to passengers taking one of the key modes of transport in the capital. The rail system stretches 16.9-kilometers from North Ave. in Quezon City to Taft Ave. in Pasay using the current fleet of 73 Czech-made trains. 

Almost 600,000 passengers take the MRT-3, far more than its load limit of 350,000 daily. The 48 new trains will help expand the system to 4-car trains that would arrive every 2.5 minutes.

“During peak hours, MRT-3 uses 3-car trains that arrive every 3 minutes. As such, there is an obvious lack of trains to meet the demand…This will enhance passenger convenience, improve reliability, reduce passengers’ waiting time, and decongest the crowded passenger platforms,” the bid bulletin said.

Second-hand or brand new?

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya earlier said the DOTC is still considering whether to choose second hand trains from Spain or the brand new trains from Czech Republic.

Abaya earlier said a 3-man team has been sent to check the condition of the second-hand trains being offered by Spain’s Metro de Madrid.

The agency has previously received a proposal from the government of Czech Republic to sell trains to the Philippine government under a concessional loan scheme through overseas development assistance (ODA).

The National Economic and Development Authority Board (NEDA) chaired by President Benigno Aquino III approved the MRT-3 expansion program in September 2012.

The project will also include the improvement of MRT-3’s traction power substations and signaling system, and new stabling tracks and catenary system in the depot.

The trains should also be designed to withstand the rigors of a railroad environment, and should have ventilation and air-conditioning system complete with relative humidity control.

They must be able to accommodate persons with disability, elderly, and pregnant passengers. Wheelchair spaces should also be provided. –

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