MANILA, Philippines - The new smart card ticketing system for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) will be up and running by the third quarter of 2015, according to the AF Consortium.
In a statement released on Monday, the AF Consortium said it has received an electronic copy of the notice of award and design for the P1.72 billion automatic fare collection system (AFCS) contract from the Department of Transportation and Communications.
The DOTC awarded the contract to the consortium led by Ayala Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp., despite questions raised by the SM group which submitted the second-highest bid.
The AF Consortium said it will now form a team of technical design and software development experts to work on the smart card-based ticketing system before it becomes available for MRT and LRT commuters in the third quarter of 2015.
The AF Consortium said it is partnering with MSI Global, a rail, transport and retail payments provider, for the smart card project. MSI Global is also the technology provider of Singapore's EZ Link card.
The new smart card ticketing system will replace the current magnetic stripe ticketing system. The smart card can be used not just for the MRT and LRT but also for electronic payments for buses, toll roads, retail and parking.
"We believe that given the combined strengths and management capabilities of both groups, we can deliver a payment platform that will serve the daily rail commuters more efficiently and significantly upgrade our rail ticketing system to global standards," Ayala Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said in a statement.
The AF consortium includes AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., BPI Card Finance Corp., Globe Telecom, Meralco Financial Services Corp., MPIC and Smart Communications.
However, the SM consortium said it will appeal the decision of the DOTC.
"We believe the SM Consortium submitted the superior bid, which was an unconditional offer to pay the government the full bid amount of P1.008 billion upfront,” SM Prime Holdings, Inc. president Hans Sy said in a statement, noting that the Ayala-MPIC consortium bested SM’s bid by just over P100,000.
Sy pointed out that the AF Consortium’s bid involved an initial payment of P279 million. The balance of P800 million will then be paid in transaction fees when ridership volume reaches 750 million transactions per quarter.