MANILA, Philippines – After some delays, the government finally awarded on late Thursday, January 30, the contract for a single ticketing scheme for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT).
The P1.72-billion project went to AF Consortium led by Manuel V. Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) and the Ayala Group.
It is the first the project to be awarded by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) under the public-private partnership (PPP) program of the 3-year-old Aquino government this year.
The Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS) “will provide passengers with more comfort, convenience, and efficiency in their daily commute, at no cost to government or to the passengers,” DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a statement.
The AFCS is expected to cut passengers’ time lining up and transferring from one rail line to another through its tap-and-go ticketing scheme.
The ticketing scheme will be fully integrated into the LRT and MRT systems by September 2015.
The AF Consortium submitted a negative bid of P1,088,103,900 for the project in December, beating the negative P1,088,000,000 bid of Henry Sy’s SM Consortium.
Abaya said the AF Consortium made the most advantageous offer to the transport agency, proposing not just to modernize the rail lines’ ticketing system but to also make P1.088 million in premium payments to the government.
This arrangement will allow the government to generate revenues without passing on any cost to passengers, the DOTC chief explained. In exchange, the winning concessionaire is allowed to expand its business beyond the LRT and MRT lines.
The AF Consortium may expand the card-based technology for use in buses, malls, and convenience stores, among others. – Rappler.com