Gov't OKs contactless smart cards for MRT, LRT

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2014 10:02 PM | Updated as of Feb 20 2014 06:02 AM

MANILA – The contactless smart card fare collection system for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3) has been given the go-signal by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

DBM has issued a Multi-Year Obligational Authority (MYOA) to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) for the new system, which allows the DOTC to replace magnetic stripe tickets with contactless smart cards and tokens.

The Contactless Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS) aims to reduce operational and maintenance costs and improve the commuter experience by lessening passenger queuing time.

"The switch from magnetic stripe tickets to contactless cards and tokens in the LRT and MRT will help us reduce operational and maintenance costs in both railways, besides strengthening security in the management of cash in the LRT and MRT. Just as important is the fact that these upgrades will improve the user experience for LRT and MRT passengers as they commute from one point to another in the metro," Budget Secretary Butch Abad said on Wednesday.

The AFCS will be implemented through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and will cost P3.16 billion, with P671 million invested in it for 2013 and another P1.05 billion set for the AFCS this year.

The DBM has also issued an MYOA to the DOTC for the implementation of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) new passenger terminal project.

"Put simply, a MYOA will allow a department or agency to obligate funds for a project for more than a year, but only if the total cost of that particular project isn't fully covered by the General Appropriations Act in the first year of the project's implementation. We issued these two MYOAs to DOTC for that very reason, as well as to jump-start the Aquino administration's bid to improve key transportation systems in some of our busiest cities," Abad said.

The initiative will also be implemented through a PPP, specifically on a Build-Operate-Transfer arrangement.

The total investment cost for the MCIA upgrade project, spanning the years 2013 to 2016 and 2021 to 2023, will amount to P17.5 billion.

In 2013, the investment cost totaled P2.07 billion, which was wholly funded by the government.